Cajsa Von Zeipel’s second solo exhibition at Arcadia Missa, The Gossips, takes its name from a small, often repeated sculpture by the French artist Camille Claudel. Cajsa von Zeipel’s sculptures in this exhibition present additional readings of Claudel’s piece as well as the action of gossiping itself. As with Claudel’s multiples of The Gossips, each sculpture in this exhibition – they are titled Why, What, Where, When – is a repeat of itself, a figure in a state of transformation. The repetitions act as versions, versions act as rumours, a rumour as a version of a truth.
A whisper is shapeless, constantly changing as the gossips speak. Von Zeipel’s sculptures too, are dripping and flowing and evolving and nebulous. Bongs, dildos, phone cords, spinners – technological and mechanical extensions of the body – grow from these gossips and it is unclear if they are coming out of, or into, the body. They share and reflect the paranoia of Claudel’s mental health while she was creating The Gossips.
Over time the word ‘gossip’ has shifted in meaning from simply being another way to describe a female friend into a negative, gendered word connoting idle and ignorant chat (a process outlined by Silvia Federici in Caliban and the Witch). The Gossips are nude together, their nudity plays upon a fear of women collectivising, talking, bound up with a suspicion around a essentialised, biological idea of the female body. Von Zeipel’s sculptures begin to reach out from the strict containment of gendered form, through their symbiosis with the technological infrastructures depicted, but also through their surfaces; their skins veer from scaly or stonelike to wet, supple and synthetic. Their desire to become more than human has a range; from When? (a girl perhaps visiting Miami, recently emerged from the sea) to Where? (a being with ruptures in the side of their face and a decorated body seemingly tattooed from the inside.)
Why, What, Where, When sit in the gallery collectivising – potentially with each other, potentially with others on the end of their headsets. The power of their gossiping is amped up further in the snarling, potentially anguished faces, which portray an empowerment not only in gossip, but also as they trudge closer towards total cyborg.
These rebel bodies chatter and shudder within their materiality, their whispering struggles to be contained, they seep and burst out of themselves, the gossip is a replica in rapture of becoming.