• What Women Want (Reichstag, Berlin)
  • Rosslyn

    The womb has always been a symbol of all-encompassing love and security, and a symbolic contrast to being cast out of the womb and left defenceless. As a place from which everyone passes, the womb has structured mythically the universal divide between protection within and exposure beyond. Mia Florentine Weiss is well acquainted with the longing for that warm paradise: the place of greatest creativity, where life itself is born.

    At birth this divide was particularly stark in artist’s life. Unable to survive on her own, she was kept in an incubator and connected to a respirator with tubes to provide her nourishment. The first time of her life she spent in hospital. The longing that arose there—a longing for life, but also for pain, which characterised the manner in which she received protection and sustenance—was among her first memories, and it has only increased through the years.

    The illuminated LED tunnel reflects the colours of the rainbow. It symbolises the promise of feeling, and of the last warmth felt as we pass through the birth canal. Never to return—a journey rare for its irreversibility. Comparable to the orgasm, affectionately and accurately referred to as la petite mort in French, birth likewise symbolizes the end of our stay in that fully protected place. Perhaps only death brings us back to the μήτρα (mētra)—the Greek word for the womb, whose various connotations we are more familiar with in the Latin cognate for the womb: the matrix. But in this case, the tunnel we all traverse is a one-way street from life as we know it. No one knows what happens in the beyond.

  • Metra