Brig Glis – Swiss residency

Working for my solo exhibition ‘Prosthetic Memories’ in July.

Wearable paper sculpture, taxidermy objects and some Covid related drawings. Three month in pandemic exile. It’s only storming in my memory.

Born in isolation, the project “Prosthetic Memories” was originally inspired by Max Frisch’s story: Man appears in the Holocene. “Disasters are known only by man, nature knows no disasters” writes the author. His protagonist, alone in a valley in Ticino, he deals with the loss of memory in the narrative.

In her works, Anita Gratzer unites with the literary figure in search of protection to escape this disappearance and oblivion. In her studio, she produces prosthetic memories, portable sculptures that wrap and shield the fleeting. These garments made from antique books, stamps, ration cards and lonely diary entries form the central part of the work. They are flanked by modelled animal preparations, which seem to emerge from an inner chamber of curiosities. “Sonno Sottile”, she calls these calvariae covered with prayer books, signs of the erosion of knowledge and nature. The vegetable counterpart to the animal skulls are reading woods, which she assembles from finds from the Saltina Gorge and 150-year-old Brockhaus editions to create fantastic fragments of knowledge.

In exile since March, Anita Gratzer has purified herself from the triggering affect, that literary inspiration, and brings us a transience of the currently so enormous narrowing of the world. Her attempts to hold on to memories become such memories themselves and thus valid works of art of her own agony.