14 – 16 SEP, 2018


Influenced by popular sciences and micro-biology Anna M. Szaflarski’s graphic narratives implement the supernatural substitution of conventional human behaviours with those of micro- (bacterial, fungal, molecular) life. The behaviours observed in micro-biology are anthropomorphized, collided with narrative canons, pulverising the foundations of sedimented stories or master narratives. They are then reorganised, re-consumed, and retold. The result is psychedelic, surreal, supernatural, feminist science-fiction.

The Hills erect their Purple Heads is the next chapter in a series of graphic, comic book style drawings. Installed on crinoline fabric and accompanied by scraps of collaged text and two ceramic sculptures, the process-developed installation at the Vernacular Institute is used as a brainstorming session for the production of new texts for a book that will bring together graphic works and essays together, centred on stories and essays about the invisible transmission of emotion.

Roughly summarised, this particular narrative illustrates a gathering of people who undergo a radical mutation triggered by manic emotional fluctuations. Their sudden happiness, then flips into sadness, and begins to manipulate their physical bodies. They begin to peel back, their emotional boundaries disarmed, they physically meld into each other. Surrounding inanimate objects enter the frenzy and are then pulled into the transformation; the architecture begins to pulse and bend, and clay objects begin to duplicate like a viral cell.

The title of this work is a citation from the first line of an Emily Dickinson poem (1688), which Szaflarski found curiously quoted without justification on two separate occasions. The first by microbiologist Lynn Margulis in her book on symbiotic evolution, and the second in a text book on geomorphology. Wondering why have these citations been left unexplained, we might assume that the poem could speak to an aspect on mutation and morphology, which science could not (yet?) formulate.

The Hills erect their Purple Heads is curated by Eva Posas.

Anna M. Szaflarski is a Canadian artist and writer based in Berlin, Germany. She is also the co-founder of artist-book publishing house AKV Berlin (2008). Recent exhibition and editorial projects have included collaborations with Fundación Alumnos (2018), Museo de Arte Zapopan (2017), Ashley Berlin (2017), Porcino (ChertLüdde, Berlin, 2017), Niagara Artist’s Centre (2015).