Arriving in the heavenly space of the Mandrake Hotel, the visitor was slightly startled to be surrounded by beautiful models enjoying an atmosphere of decadence and indulgence in complete seclusion. In an exclusive interview with IRK Magazine, the artist Iris Brosch explored in depth the inspiration behind the presentation, the differences in her approach to creative and commercial work, and provided a unique glimpse into the creative process of an artist inspired by the Renaissance, to celebrate the human form from a contemporary perspective.
The artist Iris Brosch organised, participated in and photographically documented her presentation symbiotically, all at the same time in the performance at the Mandrake hotel. The artist was extremely busy whilst she skilfully interacted with both the space and the participants in what could be interpreted to be an inspirational presentation in celebration of the human form.
The idea of bringing together, co-ordinating, and the fluidity of roles of the artist alongside the participants. Iris Brosch symbiotically worked alongside the makeup artists, snake handler, florist, musicians and photographers, seamlessly interweaving the participants with the organisers.
It was as if even the normal levels of authority and control were being questioned. The artist as a participant as well as an organiser and as an observer through the lens of her camera, documenting the event:
‘my role like an artist is to merge all the energy of model, teams and location into a tableaux vivant; a final live painting. My commercial background of 25 years of production experience helps a lot to let go of all kinds of hierarchy and control, to break the rigid production structures so that myself and my team are working on an equal level, everybody is important and has something beautiful to bring into the life painting. I think that we are all human beings and all artists in one way or another. I know that I am at my best when I am not dominated by anything and I am just in the flow and am being fluently myself. So as I know how it feels for myself, to be just on the top of myself, to do whatever I feel. Equality with no control brings out the best of each of us and together we paint a images full of emotion and feelings’. Iris Brosch 2018
The presentation embraced diversity and breached the usual assumptions of gender, and of Adam and Eve, to celebrate the beautiful male ballet dancer with long blond hair holding a snake and the naked male opera singer.
‘Duality, diversity, revealing energies and combining the best from everyone.… embracing that in every woman is a man, and in every man is a woman.’ Iris Brosch 2018
Iris Brosch described to me how she always questions what is masculine and what is feminine, and tries to embrace the differences between us, with the main focus being to celebrate the body:
‘Showing the nude body with its full power and innocence, develops a lot of energy. Gender diversity, meaning the mixture resulting form the equal representation off men, women and models of non-binary gender will realise lots of positive energy so that together we can create something exceptional. By bringing together the energy from different identities, vision and backgrounds will create a lot of happiness’ Iris Brosch 2018
Iris Brosch acknowledges the roots of inspiration for her creative process in the Italian Renaissance and celebrates the representation of nakedness in this period:
‘I love the Italian renaissance which celebrated nudity and the very value of the human body; the painting and sculptures were so strong and beautiful that even the church couldn’t object to the naked divinities. In our times, where everything is censored on social media and completely controlled, and we can’t show nudity or anything which could stimulated the human mind, I think we have to come back and realise that the body is ourselves! Any kind of censorship of our bodies is a censorship on the human being! If you are happy in your body then you are starting to be happy in your soul, but how can we do that in a society where we are confronted with the wrong images and representation of how a body should be. The representation of the nude human body in our male system is not only sexualised and banalised, with the prevalence of pornography, but people are not used to contemplating the beauty and power of the nude body on an different level. We need to restore a new vision of our self and our bodies to celebrate the naked being’ Iris Brosch 2018
Overwhelmed by the engaging power of the performance to utilise both seen and unseen energies. The inherent power of the naked body seductively celebrated gender diversity, crossing the boundaries of normal assumptions and questioning the representation of love between Adam and Eve. The presentation started with a blessing of the building, and throughout the performance the artist Iris Brosch took an active role in positioning, guiding, arranging and interacting with and alongside the performers.
By participating in the process of transformation of the performers with makeup, hair, choice of outfits and accessories, and by actively throwing blossom into the air, she explored concepts of beauty and love on all levels. There were so many talented professionals involved in the presentation, and the blessing of the building the sound therapist brought an alternative, unseen element to the presentation:
’I believe if we see, we only see 5% of what is really going on. Of the 95% nobody teaches us to look. For the ceremony we worked on lots of invisible zones together with the sound therapist Slavomir Latko, the blessing therapist Gaelle Loveschock and the sculptor Bushra Fakhouri. We worked in the invisible spheres from the basement to the terraces of the hotel, and it introduced a vibration to everything.’ Iris Brosch 2018
Iris Brosch is is quoted as describing women as heroines, with the soul and the spirit of women being the focal point of your photographs. She has said that she always tries to create confidence between women which makes them stronger, that it is really important to create a real link between people. Getting back to the ideas of duality and how she sees male energy as complimenting female energy, the roles are shifting so that they are not really defined by gender, more by energy, duality, community and connection. In the presentation the naked human body was celebrated in the secluded, opulent and unique central london location of the Mandrake hotel. Bringing nature in all its beauty into the space in celebration of the duality and diversity of human beings.
Iris Brosch is described as a contemporary Leonardo da Vinci, bringing together many disciplines together into photography. How about the role of photography as a discipline? The objective results of her presentation were primarily photographic, with the additional output of a work of video art and an art book, but the presentation itself was the work of art:
'I feel always the same and would not make any difference between myself as a photographer; video director, performance artist or an artist. Whatever I do, i do with the same creativity, passion and energy. Photography twenty years ago was more difficult to be accepted in the art world than it is now and I am increasingly becoming interested in video art. There was always the idea that art had to be unique and that photography could be duplicated, loosing its originality. Now you have the same with video, as it can be streamed and many can see it, so its more difficult to bring it into the art world to sell it. It is easier to sell photography because people need something more traditional, a print on the wall. With video you can create DVD’s, which I have been doing, but at the end of the day a video is a stream, and it takes time for people to comprehend this, but they like to have it. I am responding to the natural movement into the digital world and from that into the world of the imagination. When you look at painters like Turner, they started very realistic, and then captured light towards the end. From oils to acrylics, from photography to video art,itwill be the energy and the light that will be important in the end. Energy and light!’
The essence of the artwork is described by the artist as being energy and light:
‘because in a hundred years from now we will have completely different artworks, and this will be comingfrom energy, light and shadows. The Mandrake is a holy plant giving fertility yet in the Islamic world the same plant is seen as demoniac because of its sexual power.So the Mandrake by itself has an intense duality of light and shadow which is apparent throughout the hotel. When I was standing on the Jurema terrace in the performance, I was divided as the light was so strong, and my whole group was divided into either in the shadow or the strong sun, which made it a challenge to record in a photograph. One part couldn’t be seen and the other part was over-exposed so the performance was about shadow and light.’ Iris Brosch 2018
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