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art installation by artist esmeralda kosmatopoulos with sculptures and photo collage artworks about femininity motherhood and woman breast



Homer evoked in the Iliad the chimeras, these fabulous hybrid creatures made of several assembled bodies, "lion in front, snake in the back, goat in the middle". Twenty-eight centuries later, science has shown that this metaphor reflects a biological reality that is at the foundation of the mother-daughter relationship. During pregnancy, mother and fetus interexchange cells that end up settling permanently in the organisms of the one and the other. After birth, a girl carries her mother's cells all her life, but the mother also keeps her baby's cells within her; two chimeras are born.


Forty years after my umbilical cord was cut to make me a supposedly unique, free and independent being, I still carry within me cells that are genetically different from my own cells; I still carry within me - hidden in my bone marrow, my heart, my liver, my pancreas, my skin... or even my brain - raw pieces of a foreign body (biologically speaking), that of my mother. Since my youngest childhood, I have been told very often, “you are the exact copy of your mother”… I should answer them that, in reality, it is not my identity that mimics her, but rather that her alterity constitutes a part of my identity. Whether I like it or not, my mother is in me.


Chimeric cells, sometimes beneficial, sometimes harmful (as the mother-daughter relationship very often is), are the foundation of a bond so deep that it is beyond our understanding or the power of our will. In the body of each woman, cells of her ancestors and her descendants coexist. They form an invisible thread that transmits knowledge and traumas. Before being mothers and even without ever becoming one, women are chimeras. Each contains us all.

“MOTHER! " explores, through three bodies of works, the notion of femininity in all its complexity by looking at the first image we have of a woman - our mother - and one of the first places where we connect with femininity - her breast. In MOTHER!, Kosmatopoulos invites us in a poetic journey through time and space, body and cosmos, public and intimate that the artist has undertaken to understand her feminine identity and all the elements - both internal and external - that contributed to define it.

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