Rosenkranz, Pamela

Born 1979 in Altdorf, Switzerland, lives in Zurich

A healthy, supple, and fragrant body—this is the ideal of contemporary Western civilization. Droves of cosmetic firms try to implement this ideal at all costs via persuasive and influential advertising schemes. Soaps, shampoos, creams, pills, healthy and dermatologically tested, everywhere you look—and cleansing mineral water to care for the inner body as well. No magazine, televised football match, or billboard can operate without it.

And it is just this notion, this ideal and the visual world of advertising associated with it that is the aim of Pamela Rosenkranz’ art. Her method is conceptual, her message sharply ironic, even satirical. In her 2010 series of small photographs, More Core, she displays coloured pills for weight loss, nerves, as well as for improving performance—they glimmer like diamonds on a dark background, or they stand out from a deep emptiness like an alien eye. The pill, this mass-consumer product, becomes a fetish in and of itself. We are reminded of how Damien Hirst clustered together thousands of them into various aesthetic patterns.

In her series Firm Being, Rosenkranz exhibited plastic bottles in aseptic display cases or on the ground with labels from popular mineral water brands, filled with flesh-coloured silicon powder. These displays were then given titles satirizing advertising slogans, such as Untouched by Man. Until you drink it.—the slogan used by the company FIJI. She also targeted other large mineral water companies such as Evian.

In other situations, Rosenkranz has painted human bodies printed on plastic sheeting, Plexiglas or Spandex, elastic material used for swim suits or jogging pants. She then displays the prints as large abstract paintings. Of course, this follows from the technique of Yves Klein’s popular “Anthropométries” from the 1960s, when this artist painted nude women in ultramarine blue and had them roll all over canvases. Rosenkranz called one of her series Anima Sana in Corpore Sano (A sound mind in a sound body), an ancient Latin proverb that is also used as an acronym by the Asics brand. Rosenkranz’ objects and installations appear to be sterile, cold, and even aseptic, often exuding emptiness, not unlike the human body that is cleansed inside and out, treated with deodorants, and hardened in gyms.