The origin and inspiration for this series of paintings on wooden panels can be traced back to a story that takes place in a grand apartment in Vienna in the late 1930s, only months before Austria will be absorbed into the third reich.
A young and rather spineless aristocrat of the Astro Hungarian empire becomes involved with a young female schoolteacher from the Ukraine. Her somber presence and dubious ethnicity makes her a stranger in this city, and she asks the young man to help her clear out and sell the estate of her late uncle who is Armenian and aunt who is Jewish.
As the schoolteacher and the young aristocrat learn more about the late couple, sorting through the items left behind, they come to discover the intensely erotic connection between the dead lovers which fueled their passion for each other through the decades.
This series of paintings is set against the back-drop of the impending devastation of Europe. The tension between the couples is rendered and explored in an explicitly sensual context. The apartment becomes a place where time both stands still and is running out. This, in turn, generates a meeting between death and eroticism, the little death. This sense of latent annihilation is perhaps the ultimate aphrodisiac, both in terms of eroticism and art.
Image rights: ©Edvarda Braanaas
May 6, 2017
Edvarda Braanaas and Tommii Lim
Marie Baldwin Gallery