Sophia Süssmilch: Salzburgs letzte Hoffnung
05.08. – 11.08.2022
Imbergstraße 51A-5020, Salzburg
Sophia Süßmilch (*1983, Dachau, GER) is aroused by herself, making her a disturbance to patriarchal sensibilities. Her painting resembles illustrations for children’s’ books, especially due to her partiality for fleshy pink and sky blue tones. Her clearly outlined shapes are coloured in monochrome hues. Sophia Süßmilch loves it bold and simple. She simplifies complex psycho-landscapes without hesitation so that they appear as loud as an adventure playground. The aesthetic of her performance and photographic work is different though; realistic physicality abounds, there’s a sculptural quality in contrast to the multi-coloured cosmos. Süßmilch’s art is then more direct, more challenging and relentless. She provokes those viewing the work. Her body is then part and parcel of the art and she works with it, altering her body, writing or painting on it, even gluing things on to herself. Often, elements of Süßmilch’s own biography inspire her art. Reshaping of her family history becomes a work of art with her mother as a co-performer, the second piece on display. In one case, Sophia Süßmilch takes on the role of the child, psychoanalysing, blending patient and therapist into one figure. Her aesthetic statements are not carefully formulated but, in contrast, powerful performative cannonballs full of intuitive intelligence. Her choice of titles or use of pictures and text fragments, result in hilariously comic works which, on closer examination, also contain existential depth. For Sophia Süßmilch, female sexuality is visible in rituals. Uninhibited, without respect and challenging, her lustful approach evokes works by Cathy Acker, Gina Pane, Carolee Schneemann, Lynda Benglis, Valie Export and other female artists who inspired her. She also, repeatedly, mentions male role models too, like Alexander Kluge and David Foster Wallace. Despite all of her intellectual pursuits, she appears fond of abrasive populism, excess and absurdity reminiscent of Herbert Achternbusch’s films, such as his early work, Oktoberfest – Schichtl or of cabinets of the abstruse by Karlstadt and Valentin, using subversive poetry mixed with bad behaviour rankness.Sophia Süßmilch is gender-conscious and politically incorrect, unideological and feminist, anything but subtle and heroic, without any semblance of good taste and magical and combination of both Maya the Bee and Poison Ivy. Chock-full of contradictions, unpredictable and full of surprises.
-Stephan Huber, Translation: Deborah Phillips