Ana Adam’s artistic intervention at the ON HER SIDE exhibition, entitled I see with my nipples, centers around recovering one’s inner strength and breaking free from self-victimization, to which we are all tempted to surrender after the traumatic events that mark our existence. The artist creates an installation in the form of a participatory work consisting of soap bars she made herself, marked with poetic text inserts that address women’s frame of mind in abusive and traumatic situations. Visitors to the exhibition can choose a soap bar and wash their hands in a sink set up especially for this in the gallery. This gesture symbolizes inner purification and the “washing off” of the trauma in one’s personal existence, turning the process of art perception into a cathartic experience. The work itself becomes a reference to women’s sensory universe and their strong intuition, revealing the artist’s view that the world would be a better place if they trusted themselves and listened to their inner voice.
Ana Adam identifies three stages that one goes through in life: persecutor, victim and rescuer. Awareness is crucial in learning existential lessons. In the artist’s opinion, one of the most important moments in life is overcoming these temporary stages and evolving towards a complex, assumed and free self.
The choice of soap as a central element of the rhythmic composition of the installation reveals the unseen effort women make within their domestic space. It is a metaphorical representation of their status in their personal and family life. Ana Adam’s work is about being a woman, about what she calls “feminitude” – feminine attitude. On describing her creative process and her work with materials, she says, “I am both a character and a creator – this is, in short, how I find myself in art, in shamanism, in the new unifying theories of physics, in transpersonal psychology, in mysticism. I practice art as daily alchemy, similar to the anonymous creations of children and women. If I believe that matter is sacred, then it becomes strong and dynamic, it can transform itself, it is free to change its structure and form. It can become art.” The artist also reveals the process of feminine awareness, which she describes by comparison with masculinity: “The inhibition of femininity in the patriarchal society has equally affected masculinity, leading to circles of wounds or healing – depending on how we see them. If one recovers, the others will recover simultaneously.”
Ana Adam’s artistic installation concentrates both the metaphorical burden of trauma (as a conceptual substance) and its healing through visual and tactile perception. It is an invitation to embrace one’s vulnerability and change it into inner strength.