Iv Toshain “AFTERLIFE”

„To believe is difficult. But to believe nothing is impossible.”– Victor Hugo

In her first solo show “AFTERLIFE” at Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art Iv Toshain deals with the three Christian basic virtues: faith – love – hope. At the centre of the exhibition we see the virtues’ three symbols: the cross, heart and anchor which can be read as the Christian credo what really matters in life.

The exhibition space in the old archiepiscopal residence will be sacredly staged with mirrors, fluorescent tubes, chains and morning stars. The three symbols „Fides, Spes and Caritas“ are presented as large scale pendants hanging from the vaults. They are made of mirrors and thus force us to reflect, whereas the heavy metal chains from which they hang stand for the restrictions as well as the liberation and can be almost seen as a comment on our current situation: Here we are: after two debilitating years that were shaped by a virus, a war inflamed at the Eastern border of Europe. A war that brings misery and unforeseeable economic impacts that will define our lives in the following years. Especially in Europe. The global order has been challenged and wobbles back and forth. Whatever the future will look like, it will cost us dear. The struggling individual can only try to reduce the consumer behaviour, not to drown in the tormenting storm of the current world affairs.

In the centre of the gallery space Iv Toshain will not only highlight new mirror objects but also a 350 cm long dissecting table. On the glass plate of the table morning stars will be placed like surgical instruments before an operation. However, instead of a metal handle the morning stars with their shining spikes are equipped with neon light tubes. As the tool of Lucifer – the light bringer and fallen angel – the morning star is a medieval instrument of torture – a weapon that is supposed to break and destroy the Christian virtues’ symbols. But the glass handle would immediately break in case of an attempted attack. The duality of the materials used in Iv Toshain’s artworks – such as the metal throwing stars – also show the ambivalence of the symbols themselves: the star stands for light, glamour, the divine but also war or aggression.

It is exactly this double nature that describes our current daily life – politically, historically and economic. Iv Toshain raises issues about the present in her artistic staging – nevertheless, she will not give any answers. Thus – what remains is to believe, love and hope, or not.

* “The symbol of a star is fundamental to my work. On the one hand it symbolises light, crystals, glamor, prominence, cult, the divine and the universe. On the other hand, the same form can mean the opposite: war, aggression, violence, injury, destruction, cruelty and death. Throwing stars and the term “shooting star” embody this concept.” – Iv Toshain

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