In 1961, on Impasse Ronsin, Paris, a meeting had occurred. In a bare, unsanitary studio complex two titans met for a night of heavy drinking. Boris Vian, the heir of Pataphysics—a turn of the century method, perfected by the alcoholic magician Alfred Jarry, who discovered the ”Science of Imaginary Solutions,” a system in which there are no rules, only exceptions—met with Niki De Saint Phalle, the mother of Nanas, the gigantic, voluptuous creatures that linked the ends of femininity with madness. Indulging in each others’ company, they drank too much, and the meeting, despite it’s obvious, cosmic impact, was completely forgotten in hazes of heavy liquors. If it was recorded, it would have registered the inception of the unique forces that Sacha Ingber learned how to master.
A couple of decades later, among Rio de Janeiro’s Tropicália remnants, Ingber was born. She absorbed her culture as a method, as a field of experimentation that privileges physical and sensual experience over optic interpretation, where all cultural influences are treated as equally exciting potentials. This attitude still seeps through the pores of her practice.
Ingber’s move to the Puritan US at an early age did not stiffen the growth of the tropics inside of her. It had though some uneasy consequences. Today, at first encounter, her work can be read as generally resistant to a smooth decoding. And indeed it is. Ingber joyously decolonizes the Eurocentric art history, crumbles its lineage by combining the Antropofagia–Tropicália’s principle of cannibalism that conflicts disparate influences– together with the Pataphysic method, where each exception creates its own rule.
In “Shelves of Mist” Ingber presents architectural designs of porous domestic scenes. A window caressed by undergarments, a bedroom set enclosed in an oversized cheeseboard, and a personal vending machine for eggs (Sacha’s favorite food) are some examples. The kitchen –which is the studio- is her sculptural gastronomic site of wild, yet meticulously planned experiments. She designs her sculptures by following impossible recipes, where the crust is created first and the foundations last. As with baking, this process necessitates trust and hours of being in darkness.
“Shelves of Mist” is a site of an idiosyncratic production, where everything is reconsidered anew. We may consider this work as yet another feminist reaction, which of course it is. But it is also something else. In Ingber’s world the social rules as we know them, as well as physics, do not apply. The result is alternate realities that are possessed by radical freedom. A freedom that is not “free from,” but that is free.