Fleeting Parts by Milena Naef | Yellowtrace
Installation view of Fleeting Parts solo show by Milena Naef at Studio Oliver Gustav, Copenhagen. Photo by Maja Karen.

Fleeting Parts by Milena Naef | Yellowtrace
Photo by Niek Hendrix.

Fleeting Parts by Milena Naef | Yellowtrace
Photo by Lisa-Marie Vlietstra.

Fleeting Parts by Milena Naef | Yellowtrace
Photo by Lisa-Marie Vlietstra.

Fleeting Parts by Milena Naef | Yellowtrace
Photo by Lisa-Marie Vlietstra.

 

Milena Naef‘s new part-performance, part-sculptural collection Fleeting Parts is a tense melange of pale flesh and heavy stone. Carefully cut-out slabs of marble reveal humble human segments of the artist herself—an elbow and knee, hip and shoulder, naked toes, and a pair of threadbare converse peep through slabs in a stark, physical contrast. A little like Harrison Ford’s escape from a cumbersome layer of fictional ‘carbonite’ (sorry, Star Wars haters), Milena’s sculptures uncover both the strength and fragility of the human condition.

The Amsterdam-based artist has a long family history of sculpture and stone—being a fourth generation sculptor—but Fleeting Parts is something different to traditional practice, far more personal and contemporary. “Marble plays an important role in my life, as I was lucky enough to grow up in my father’s sculpting school in Switzerland,” Milena explains.

Her work to date has been centred upon the idea that our bodies stand in constant choreography with their environment. For Milena, the body is as much a material as the marble she has grown up with. “[Fleeting Parts] is a continuation of a project in which I claim my own physical space within this context and question the traditional approach of stone carving.”

 

Fleeting Parts by Milena Naef | Yellowtrace
Photo by Niek Hendrix.

Fleeting Parts by Milena Naef | Yellowtrace
Photo by Alice Trimouille.

Fleeting Parts by Milena Naef | Yellowtrace
Photo by Lisa-Marie Vlietstra.

 

While classic marble effigies, idols, and busts depict stony, muscular gods primed to withstand many centuries, Milena’s Fleeting Parts series focuses on the softness of humanity.

To create the works, she carved out slithers and gaps in large slabs of marble to precisely fit parts of her own body. There is, however, a strength in the moment of the performance too. “[The] presence and absence of the body are a vital aspect of the work itself,” she adds. “The marble plates will outlive the body and have to function as autonomous objects.”

 

Milena Naef’s Fleeting Parts solo show runs until 20th August at Studio Oliver Gustav, Copenhagen.

 

 


[Images courtesy of Milena Naef.]

 

About The Author

Sammy Preston

Sammy Preston is a writer, editor, and curator living in Sydney. Working especially within art and design, and then lifestyle and culture more broadly, Sammy is a senior writer at Broadsheet, and a contributing digital editor at Foxtel's Lifestyle platform. Sammy also contributes regularly to art and design press like VAULT Magazine, Art Collector, Art Edit, Habitus, and Indesign magazines. She's written art essays for MUSEUM, exhibition texts for Sophie Gannon Gallery, and has worked as an arts and culture editor for FBi Radio. In 2016, she worked as part of the editorial team for Indesign Magazine as digital editor during the publication's pivotal print and website redesign. Sammy was also the founding manager and curator of contemporary art space Gallery 2010—a curator-run initiative housed within a Surry Hills loading dock. The gallery hosted exhibitions with emerging and established artists from 2012 until 2016.

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