+ video, 11 min
+ ceramics, water, leather, dimensions variable
On the first day of spring in Eastern Europe, a celebration takes place to bid farewell to the cold of winter and to
welcome the first, tentative steps of spring. Hailing from the pre-Christian era, communities gathered in villages to
create a feminine figure representing Morana. Morana is a Slavic pagan goddess representing rebirth, dreams and
the afterlife. During the ritualistic drowning of this deity, a straw effigy is created in her image and adorned with
handicraft materials: a simple hat, empty eggshells, beads and pearls strung around her neck.
In Alicja Wysocka’s exhibition Lamentations, she draws inspiration from the pagan rituals accompanying the
drowning of Morana. The title of the video "Lamentations" refers to expressions of grief. Laments constitute some
of the oldest forms of writing, and examples exist across human cultures.
This celebration of spring and lament of winter, also brings to the fore the trauma and violence of drowning pagan
people who resisted forced Christianisation. Morana, the effigy who is the main protagonist of this rite of spring, is
also a symbol of rebirth and the cycle of life in Slavic symbolism. The rite of Morana was appropriated by the
Christian church as a commemoration of Judas during Easter time.
The installation comprises the video work Lamentations, as well as a new series of ceramics by Alicja Wysocka. The
video shows constellations of women bathing together in a bathtub performing acts of devotional and religious
cleansing. Surrounded by a mise-en-scène of ornate ceramics and props, the feminine protagonists engage in
mutual acts of care which may be read as sexual, humorous, religious or friendly. Moments of joy are interspersed
with imagery that may be read as more ominous; a cross of mud drawn across a spine, a face disappearing under
the surface of the water. The film reflects on Slavic water spirits, water symbolism, and its meaning in different
religions and rituals.
Olivia Berkowicz, independent curator and writer
'Lamentations' - solo show
+ 29.04 - 2.05.2021
Frankfurt am Main