TonAt the Venice Biennale, a woman in her 40s posed in a wild, homemade costume that included matador pants with ribbons and a hat that looked like an upturned pan. In another smaller photo, taken around 1920, she is squatting on one leg like a stork, feathered and dripping with jewels.
Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven was born in 1874 in Elsa Hildegard Plötz in the city of Świnoujście in what is now Poland. Her title – acquired in New York in 1913 – is a memento of a brief marriage. “Baroness” became not only her name, but her character: an avant-garde creation that defied bourgeois decency. In Venice this year, she was hailed as a Dada pioneer who reimagined everyday life as a performance.
She spent her early years doing vaudeville in Berlin before moving to New York, where she supported herself as an artist model. She made sculptures and costumes from found objects (her wedding ring was a rusted metal hoop plucked from the sidewalk) and wrote experimental poems, which she also performed. Memorable sets include bras made from tomato soup cans and caged canaries; hats clinking with stolen teaspoons; stamps instead of rouge. Modesty, whether in the studio or on the street, is for the square.She collaborated on the film with surrealists Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray The Baroness shaved off her pubic hair. Alas, only a handful of stills survived the editing process.
A new exhibition in London Mimosa House The Baroness is being celebrated. Some of the items and combinations she found — including rusted wedding rings, enduring ornaments and a jagged wood peg called a cathedral — come with tributes from current admirers of the artist. “I didn’t want to reduce her to a ready-made object,” said curator Daria Khan. “She had more. She was an extraordinary poet.” Each artist recorded one of her poems. “I wanted to put the voice at the center,” Khan added. “We don’t have any recordings of Elsa, but we have a lot of memories of her voice and performance.”
jamaican american poet Claude McKay It is written that the Baroness “recited a poem in her masculine and husky voice, dressed in an ornate rainbow robe, adorned with savage beads, sequins and bracelets, with her inevitable poodle and gilded harness”. Her performance is full of passion. “The walls were shaking, the ceiling was shaking, life was real, life was serious,” recalls Mike Gold, who edited Liberator with McKay.
2018 Zuzanna Janinone of the artists on show at Mimosa House, established the Women’s Art Prize in Poland in honor of the Baroness and the Surrealists Maria Anto. Yanin valued the work of the Baroness more than Dada.The Sculpture God of the Apparently Blasphemy – The U-bend of the pipes on the base, collectively attributed to Morton Schamberg – can also be read as a celebration of modernity.
“What does it mean,” Yanin asked, “when European cities begin to create a common sanitation system that revolutionizes the daily hygiene of citizens? She is not only a Dada poet artist, but also in her appreciation of the everyday elements. A socially engaged and futuristic artist in his revolutionary use and cult of engineering.”
Inspired by the Wood Shard Cathedral of the Baroness Birmingham Linda Stupart A structure was built using the “bark” they collected during a “show walk” along the Cole River in the Midlands. Stupart described the cathedral as “a ready-made object that expresses both the brokenness and the magic of everyday life – an old object with a halo”. The cathedral, exhibited in New York in 1918, was the baroness’s tribute to the city’s skyscrapers or cathedrals of commerce. As an art history figure, what does Stupart think we can learn from her? “Sleep with everyone!” they replied. “Getting old! Embarrassing and excessive!”
However, the shadow of the Duchamp shape hangs over the story.Whether the Baroness is wholly or partly responsible Duchamp Fountain, his famous upturned porcelain urinal, signed “R Mutt”? The debate continues. For Janin, the evidence seems clear. “Her life, her writings, her way of working, her use of pipes and pipes confirms this,” the artist said. “She deserves a place in the art world. I’m surprised the urinal was shown at Tate Modern a few years ago without any comment on Elsa’s possible authorship.”
Khan worries that the heated debate over the fountain will distract the baroness from other work. “We didn’t want to make a woman important just because she created the work of a male artist,” she said. Regarding Duchamp, the Baroness once wrote: “When I was young – stupid – / I loved Marcel Duchette / He was clumsy -” However, the fountain appeared at the House of Mimosa, along with the Baroness ‘s lines, projected onto the toilet door.