Several alabaster heads, softly laid down on worn out pillows and placed onto old suitcases or a metal and wooden munitions’ trunk, constitute “Ithaca”, a compelling series of work that paradoxically combines impressions of repulsion and fragility.
The title is twofold. It reminds one of the classical myth of Homerus’ Odysseys and equally refers to life’s journey and the subordinate importance of its final destination.
As in former work, Muller explores the human body as a vehicle to express the condition of the soul and the mental state of man, determined by one’s inner life path.
The specific use of ‘imperfect’ alabaster – which is marked by erosion, remnants of soil or natural cracks – forms a direct reference to the human physiology. The semitransparent material with its irregular surface and vein-like line spectrum reminds one of the human skin marked by nerves, veins and scares. Additionally, alabaster contains a geological softness – hence vulnerability – compared to marble or granite.
Each head is partly sculpted in a meticulous way while other parts of the surface remain unprocessed and are characterized by the natural break lines of the material, leaving the head with an almost wounded appearance.
By combining the alabaster with a munitions’ trunk or old suitcases and laying them onto soft pillows, Muller reminds the viewer of her background as the daughter of an antique dealer whereas it enhance the idea of a journey, filled with obstacles and the need for protection and care.
Muller’s sculptures in alabaster distinctly mark a new phase in her oeuvre, showing a particularly strong series where the material and technique speak for themselves and consequently no further explanation is required.