EVA + ADELE
By Andrew Hewish
EVA+ADELE are two people one artist. They are interested in the artistic presence as a performance. They are a well-known fixture at the vernissage week at the Italian Biennale, where they perform, or appear, in each pavilion. The artist has lived as two people for twenty years, since they made a decision to live in a union that carries something of the author Willy's definition of the Third Sex, neither male nor female. The performative qualities of their presence means that every outing is planned, from their shoes, their handbags, their dresses. They produce elaborate drawn charts that organise these outings. They appear in women's clothing with shaved heads, and in doing so appear neither wholly male nor female.
Their drawings are not so well known as their paintings, but it is in the drawings that the problematique of the dual persona EVA + ADELE is amplified. All the work is done together as a single artist. The drawings are gestural - by hand; but it is unclear whose hand. As an audience, we are used to a convention that a gestural mark often indicates a point of origin in a single artist, where we read back from the object to the interior state or gestural intention of the artist. Here we exist with reference to this artist's alter-state, not knowing by which particular hand, and what kind of mind, expresses this intention. EVA + ADELE have said that they can act as one artist-mind, having acted now in this way for so long, but this doesn't settle our reception of the gesture.
Recently they got married in Berlin. You have to use your real name in Germany to get married. Except EVA was, before their marriage, legally a man. In Germany you can't legally call yourself EVA if you are a man, so EVA had to be legally reassigned as a woman before being able to call herself EVA, and then marry, or rather register as two women, in a civil partnership in Germany. One gets from this a sense of how radical, and how sincere, their artistic life in the context in which they live. This also meant a period of considerable time of psychoanalysis in preparation for the legal gender reassignment, that interestingly ADELE sat in on. From this recent period have come a series of A2 sized drawings in coloured crayon or wax pastel; portraits that recall the drawings of Cocteau (whom they cherish as an influence), of glamour fashion illustration, and film montage (again redolent of Cocteau). In most of these one face is super-positioned over another, and again we are not sure which hand is responsible for which line. Which for EVA+ADELE, is as they want it to be.
All images courtesy of the artist