Creator: Vaysha Hirsch Todorovich
Exhibition: Posthuman Romantics
Published: Feb 2021
Content Warning: The young photographer is dying or has already just passed, as can be seen though her bloodless, blue-toned pallor. Such a stark visual confrontation of death’s moment may be a triggering consideration for viewers. The photographer ‘death-stare’ seems to be looking directly at the viewers but is in fact looking past us into the other world. The theme of opiate addiction, symbolized by the pervasive surrounding of dripping poppies, and the crown of poppies on her head, is a heavy theme of connotations which may not be suitable for all viewers.
A Posthuman Romanticism Illustration by Vaysha Hirsch Todorovich
A young, romantic photographer lays on her premature death bed in a poppy-induced dream in the moment when the two worlds of life and death blend and bend, holding her spirit in the balance. In dying, she snaps her final photograph projecting her departing essence into transformative release as a spirit hummingbird; a portal to the verdant “otherworld” beyond death and freedom from the chains that bind her, appears overhead. This world does not contain poppies but instead, flowers of purity.
This illustration which, translated from Latin, means “transcendence,” expresses POSTHUMAN ROMANTICISM, in various ways.
It is through the interface of technology…a vintage camera…which expresses her vision to transform beyond human self, into an icon of deathless Nature…the spiritual essence of a hummingbird. The vintage camera, symbolic of her personal creative power in life, transforms her dying moment.
She finds her transcendence to peace-of-mind in the distant past of the Romantics, symbolized by the heritage stone border and wrought-iron gates of yesteryear, surrounding her vision. The present form she departs from, is trapped by the obsessions which imprisoned her, symbolized by nebulous, dew-drop spider-webs like chains, or the black shroud covering over her on the death bed. It is notable that the photographer emerges from this stifling shroud, where her hands appear, taking the powerful action of pressing the camera button and projecting her transformation of spirit outward.The most dominant theme in DENEGATIO TRASCENDENTIUM is found in the flowering poppies of opiate addiction which oppresses the photographer and precipitates her untimely death. This illustration is emblematic of Vaysha Hirsch Todorovich’s body-of-work in that it draws on both modern influences like “tattoo art,” incorporating bold line work or ‘alternative’ thematic motifs, as well as showing a throw-back romantic reverence for Nature. There are appearances of influencing constellations: Pegasus (her horse) and the Pleiades – the seven sisters, the spirit world of flowering cherry blossoms beyond Death’s door, and the swallows crowning the portal beyond Death. It is notable that the trio of swallows are in flight bearing a broken-stemmed flower which symbolizes that a woman has passed on before her time. The illustration is presented with the formality of a Tarot card, and from that mystical tradition, is layered with symbology that unifies in expressing this specific piece’s theme of transcension.
(Synopsis and Artist’s Statement Written by Andre Hirsch Todorovich)
Process & Project Photos
In Conversation with the Curator:
[Louise:] Hi and welcome! I’m Louise Chow, a Papercut Arcade collective member and I would like to introduce 2 pieces for the Posthuman Romantics exhibition.
The first of these is an ink illustration, Denegatio Trascendentium, by Vaysha Hirsch Todorovich.
Vaysha describes it as such:
“A young, romantic photographer lays on her premature death bed in a poppy induced dream, in the moment when the two worlds of life and death blend and bend, holding her spirit in the balance. In dying, she snaps her final photograph projecting her departing essence into the transformative release of a spirit hummingbird, while a portal to the verdant “otherworld” beyond death and freedom from the chains that bind her, appears overhead. This world does not contain poppies but instead flowers of purity.”
[Jon:] “Your artist became posthuman by dying. How do you think her newly undead status makes her feel about living human beings and in what way would that affect her art going forward?”
[Louise:] Vaysha provides the following answer:
“When my artist passed, she escaped a tumultuous personal herstory. With heightened clarity, her essence was transmitted through her camera and projected outward as a magical hummingbird, giving flight to her spirit.
With the combination of her new lightness of being and her photographic memory of the life she had just lived, my artist is left with a new perspective.
She marvels at the world she has left behind, noting that every living creature from winged insects to larger mammals have their own agenda, their own purpose and reason to be. This realization expands to encompass everything including the stars and her own perception.
Her feeling towards living human beings has also expanded. Preconceived notions, grudges and misunderstandings have been washed clean of their confusion. She only feels the all encompassing vibration of love.
She continues to photograph her enlightened gallery of memories as they surface and transmits these beautiful works of art to her loved ones she has left behind, so that they appear to them as sudden memories, a gentle breeze, a comforting presence.”