Soshiro Matsubara: LoveSick for Mousse

The philosopher Alain Badiou regards love as a construction of the perspective of two, starting with the very moment after which the world is experienced in a new and different way. A widespread understanding of romantic love is one absorbed in this miraculous and existentially intense encounter, which is sometimes compared to a state of madness.1 If looked at as a mere chemical reaction, it can be simplified as a set of neurotransmitters sending signals in the brain, achieving a high that resembles one drugs might provide; likewise, abstinence can lead to depression and withdrawal symptoms. Love abstinence and its derived feeling of sickness is pervasive in countless stories, real and fictional, that have been immortalized in poems, paintings, sculptures, and even dolls. The turbulent affair between Expressionist painter Oskar Kokoschka and composer Gustav Mahler’s widow, Alma, stands out because, among other reasons, Kokoschka dealt with his love sickness by commissioning a life-size doll meant to look like Alma to fill the emptiness after their split. Alma’s doll was a symbol of Kokoschka’s desperation, as well as testimony to his uncontrolled desire and abusive behavior. This unusual denouement caught the attention of Japanese-born, Vienna-based artist Soshiro Matsubara, who first learned about the Austrian artist in Tokyo; later on in Austria, he learned more about the story that eventually became an ongoing reference in his own work.

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