video performance, 38 min with sound
In the video performance “Injured,” Irene Schüller addresses the fragility of the human body by adapting the self-mutilization aesthetic that originated in the 1960’s. In contrast to Marina Abramovic or Valie Export, Schüller injures herself on a purely symbolic level. No blood flows, as the artist sits on a simple chair facing the viewer frontally, clothed in a wide skirt and a tank top. Rolls of band-aids await at her feet. Schüller repeatedly bends over and cuts off plaster strips with a large scissors and sticks them on her skin – first on her knee, foot and arm, and finally on her chest and face. Thus, actually uninjured body parts are presented as wounded. By the end of the performance, her body is covered with patches. There is an idiosyncratic beauty to the act of “plastering,” while at the same time the artist’s immersion in her own body evokes imagery of ancient sculptures, such as the figure of the “Boy with a Thorn.” In another sense, the work is suffused with an involuntary, even inappropriate humor. The beauty and the comedy are dark – the artist’s body does not seem to be beautiful as she is hardly human and in fact looks like a monster. The result is paradoxical: the self-care results in disfigurement rather than in the healing of the inwardly-injured subject. The visualization leave a lasting sense of lesion.