Victoria Holdt (*1992) is a Swiss artist who lives and works in Basel. She is interested in exploring the interplay between the body, materials, media, and various systems and is currently working on projects that aim to seamlessly connect the realms of video and sculpture. In her artistic work, she delves into materials, contemplating the synergy between ceramics, latex, hide glue, acrylic glass, and video. In her work, human behavior and emotions, including language and word play, play a significant role. She often incorporates a touch of irony or humor, viewing them as powerful tools to disrupt established relations and reshape realities.

Translated excerpts from the text written in German for the show MUSCLE MEMORY in Kunstraum Aarau 2023 by Marius Quiblier:

It’s like riding a bike. Muscle memory refers to a movement pattern that becomes ingrained in our memory through the constant repetition of a physical process. When a process is repeated enough times, an individual can develop a novel intuition and empower themselves to react in a specific way to a particular sequence without conscious thought.

In the artwork “Muscle Memory” (2023) by Victoria Holdt, found footage video collages are originally projected onto organic forms crafted from animal glue, also known as hide glue. This version of the work was created specifically for The collages include excerpts from choreographies by Britney Spears and Judy Garland, two trained performers who have undergone the Hollywood machinery and risen to international stardom. Both tirelessly train until their performance and personality intertwine. At the same time, Holdt shows newly hatched turtles instinctively crawling towards the sea, migratory birds heading south, and cells dividing. The conditioning of the human body meets natural intuition. The artist speaks of cycles, repetition, and habit. Through fluid transitions between individual sequences and an overarching ambient sound, the segments shed their individual status and merge into a cohesive whole.

Holdt seeks a precise transition point at which the conditioning of the body transforms into automatism, detaching itself from active decisions and following a blind intuition. Body over mind or mind over body?

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