12 - 16 October 2022
Exhibited artist: Orshi Drozdik
In the Spotlight section of Frieze Masters, Einspach Fine Art & Photography presents a selection of artworks from Orshi Drozdik’s magnum opus, Adventure in Technos Dystopium (1984‒1995). This body of work offers a critical inquiry into a series of issues debated in the 1980s and 1990s around institutionalised knowledge, scientific production, collective memory, and gender identities.
In her multipart series Adventure in Technos Dystopium, Drozdik set out on a more than a decade-long endeavour to examine and deconstruct the way scientific discourse represented nature and the human body over the last three centuries. In 1984, she began to take photographs of exhibits stored in glass display cases in different science, medical, and technological museums in Europe. This series of black-and-white photographs entitled Dystopia Infinite features eighteenth- and nineteenth-century technological instruments and medical specimens that represented the world of truth and reality as constructed by patriarchal scientific discourse. In order to introduce a female perspective into the history of natural sciences, in 1986 Drozdik created the pseudo-persona of an eighteenth-century woman scientist, Edith Simpson, whose fictitious biography, scientific discoveries, and instruments she subsequently exhibited in the form of installations. The investigations carried out in natural history and medical history museums were brought further by Drozdik in the 1990s. Besides questioning science’s attempt to model reality, in the installation series entitled Manufacturing the Self she examined the constructed nature of self-image and the female body. The floor installation Manufacturing the Self: The Pathological Body; Erythrocytes (1989/1990) and the two love letters entitled The Normal and the Pathological Female Body (1995) expose how science and language play a crucial role in the formation of the self and in our perception of the female body. The installation Erythrocytes consists of 68 red blood cells made of unglazed white porcelain. By placing a magnifying lens before the installation, Drozdik invites the viewer to replace the observing scientist.
In her investigation into the historical formation of knowledge and scientific representation in the 1980s and 1990s, Drozdik offered a critical analysis of the representation of truth and reality in patriarchal scientific discourse.