Marlene Mautner



The Soul Is Sick And Tired of Its Too Solid Shell

In the series „The soul is sick and tired of its too solid shell“ I use a phrase of one of Arseny Tarkovsky’s poems, as it appeared to me during Covid-19 related shelter in place in San Francisco. Being new to a place gives you the opportunity to see different perspectives of it. In the beginning I was the tourist, who observed with a delight. The magnificent buildings, the kind people greeting, the multifarious landscapes, the diverse flora. The first few weeks, I got to know the neighbourhood, the streets and the surface of a culture. After some time I walked the same streets and saw the same buildings while the initial amazement faded away. I didn’t focus on the sugarcoated surface anymore. I was noticing the cracks in the facades. Then the lockdown came. At that time, I read about thousands of seashells, piling up on beaches on the east coast of the USA. According to an article, the shell overload is directly linked to the coronavirus pandemic. That is because stay-at-home orders have kept tourists and local residents from flocking to the beach and collecting the shells. In my images I portrait this particular time in this particular place. I want to show you the fragile construct I observed during my stay. I want to show you this dreamy image of California, which exists only in my imagination. While I was still there, it felt like I was just living in the memory of being there, a very vague memory. I was looking for the soul of this place, but only found shells.

Marlene Mautner, 2022