Zilla Leutenegger «Man on the Moon» 2000.
Flight to the Moon, 1999
Zilla: «You see me standing on the moon, whistling and peeing into a crater.»
When I was 7 years old, my father lived in the USA for one year. He used to send me postcards of the man on the moon. I was very impressed and told everybody in the village that this man on the postcard is my father. Hence, the moon was a very amazing but lonely place to me. I made my first work of the moon in 1999, Flug zum Mond, Der Mann im Mond, 2000.
Zilla Leutenegger's works are as she herself puts it, like windows that she sometimes opens to let others look at her romantic world. The language of Romanticism serves her to bridge the gap between herself and the recipient. The Man in the in her video installation is actually a woman in the moon who has learnt to piss like a man.
This occupation of territory is not just humorous, for it also references the achievements of eminist theoreticians. For the artist, emancipation today means bringing out each genders individual qualities. So when Leutenegger conquers the moon with male conduct, she is not interested in emulating specific poses and gestures but much rather their models: How is intellectual affinity expressed in our mass culture?
A hotel on the moon: Under the black night sky, in the lurid light of the sun as it shines relentlessly on the surface of the moon, Zilla Leutenegger sits on the flat roof of the Forum Hotel and gazes into the endless lunar landscape of dusty seabed and craters. Through splintered vistas our view is directed to an unpeopled region at once strange and familiar. In long, slow sweeps we occasionally see the hotel from the exterior, as if we were flying toward it. It really is somehow reminiscent of that urban wasteland and the actual site of the Forum Hotel, Berlin's Alexanderplatz. We see Leutenegger, first pacing between ventilation pipes, then sitting and staring into the distance, and finally calling out "Mama!" like a lost child when the blue planet edges across the horizon.
This childishly dreamy, dreamily traumatic image of a lonely little girl on the moon, homesick for Mother Earth, was presented (in a corner projection and on four video monitors) with the illusionistic power of a fairy tale--which at the same time was dispelled by the omnipresence of technology and the Styrofoam slabs jammed tightly into the room. As if on a Romantic stage, we found ourselves in the center of the action in Forum Hotel (all works 2002); and yet we remained excluded, mere observers. As unreachable as Earth is to the little princess, so she was to us.