Cajsa von Zeipel is a sculptor whose work delves into identity, gender, queerness and normativity, using tension between traditionally feminine and masculine tropes to challenge our notions of womanhood and sexuality.
Initially gaining notoriety for her large-scale sculptures in plaster and jesmonite, von Zeipel continues her reference to classical sculpture and has developed a complex technique with her shift to silicone-based work all crafted by the artist herself. In an evocation of sci-fi and fantasy aesthetics, the silicone – a material common in implants, sex toys, and kitchen equipment – brings her sculptures to life. Beneath it the bodies are constructed from parts of mannequins, sculpted styrofoam, and various other materials. Sawing off limbs and reconnecting disparate pieces, von Zeipel destroys their normative bodies; rather than statically holding clothes, these reconfigured forms take on uncanny movements. Limbs shake, fingers bend, skin wrinkles, and mouths fall in a manner that mimics our own physicality. In an assertion of femme visibility and sex positive provocation, von Zeipel’s works celebrate a fantasy world of their own creation.
“Alternative Milk” features Canon, von Zeipel’s largest bronze work to date, as well as Gay Milk and Mommy Crane, her two most recent works that can be viewed as a shift in her practice. Always close to her own life, from young girls her figures are moving into an adult woman – a mother, and even the ideal mother of all mothers, and artistic reference par excellence – the Madonna.
An aesthetic that may seem both hyperbolic and dystopian is in fact a comment and a visualization of the continuous interaction of technology with biology, with the human body at the very centre. The ideal of the mystic and god-given connection between mother and child has been supplemented with the demand for constant multitasking and a maximum use of body and mind. Pregnancy, lactation, sexuality, all is transparent in the post-human body, a body that is used rather than lived, a human industry of sorts.