Margarita Gluzberg—Her Dark Materials



Written by:  Trish Lyons


Translated by:Shoran Jiang



Images by courtesy of: Margarita Gluzberg


Emma was stationed at her window (she was often there: the

window, in the provinces, replaces theatres and promenading).



Margarita Gluzberg has always been drawn to specific figures within fiction and the way in which a character can draw out that which is hidden, even from themselves, to expose the chaos of ordered life, or the gaping hole of desire. Gluzberg is thinking of the titular Emma in Gustave Flaubert’s novel, Madame Bovary. Emma Bovary is a character who is consumed by desire which is expressed through her carefully chosen hats, silk parasols, and her lace-trimmed handkerchiefs with which she dabs her tears that well up as she becomes overwhelmed with a sense of longing; a longing to escape her lonely existence in a provincial town with a husband who is a provincial doctor.  And all the while Emma looks to Paris because she thinks that what she is lacking is romantic love. She compensates for this lack by borrowing money in order to buy home furnishings, fabrics and dresses. In her desire for romance, she becomes embroiled in an affair and at one moment becomes consumed by guilt.  She realizes, ‘I am a sinner’ and that she ought to become religious so she can repent. She becomes focused on the kind of rosary she will buy; its delicacy, its fine craftsmanship, its attention to detail until finally it is drained of all its spiritual value and turns into a fashion accessory. Emma Bovary is a consumer of desire and the process of consumption completely destroys her. It is this mode of consumption that is significant to Gluzberg’s art.  She has coined the term consumystic to describe the hybrid idea that conflates desire, consumption and the mystical.


As an overarching idea, Gluzberg incorporates the consumystic into almost every title of work, and she chases it through different mediums. For example, her multiple exposure photographs are made in terms of fashion seasons. She made an 80 image projection entitled the Consumystic Autumn. There is now a Consumystic Winter, and she plans a Summer and Spring as well. She uses the term ‘consumystic’ to describe a state of consumption and mysticism that she also recognizes in herself and her own ambiguous relationship with shopping.  As if possessed, a feeling comes upon her and she thinks that she really needs something, like a pair of shoes, and like an addict she does not care if she spends her last penny, because the pair of shoes is what she has always needed.  She is in the realm of the mystical, or at least in a certain perception of the mystical inasmuch as it transcends reason. Or perhaps it is a kind of hysteria, but Gluzberg chose the word mystical instead, because it seemed to fit her idea of it. Some people might attribute a more sinister word to what she means.

Gluzberg takes photographs in the twilight hour – she seeks that moment in the day when objects are seen in a state of their ultimate fictional desire; when streets darken and shop windows glow with objects that appear translucent.  She walks around Bond Street and Sloane Street and those streets that are known for their luxury brand shopping arcades and up-market department stores such as Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, or Harrods, which she describes as a kitsch nightmare but is mesmerizing nonetheless. It is hard to know which places are actually photographed because the film is double, and sometimes, triple exposed. A filmstrip will record a number of places – a number of temporal spaces. It might be that one day she shoots one strip of film and then a week later she will shoot again and double expose the strip – and maybe triple expose it half an hour later – in effect creating both a collage and a montage. It is as much a splicing of time as a splicing of spaces, but they tend to be similar kinds of spaces designed for the consumer. She relies on moments occurring where something happens; where maybe a saddle gets juxtaposed with some underwear and a light. It is a technique that echoes the strategies of the surrealists, where the image is a photographic montage and one idea merges with another as she tries to make the dream-state through branded shops.




She regards the photographs as both desiring objects and luxury commodities. She wants them to be echo chambers of desire because it is important that the photographs produce the same kind of effect as the object of desire.  The transposition of the object takes place through the chemical process of the emulsion. The enchantment for Gluzberg lies in the process and material of analogue film and its particular capacity to be a medium. Ink is embedded into the paper in such a way that the emulsion folds and the blacks are literally transmitted into the platinum prints. Likewise, in the direct transmission of the image that occurs in her unique 80 slide projection works in which the slides are cut-ups from the strips of processed film so that what is projected is the actual film out of the camera. She calls this the transubstantiated effect in which conceptual matter is the photographs themselves which act as icons for the object of desire.



Ideally, we should be able to find self-transcendence in some form of pure or applied religion, though Gluzberg shares the view of Aldous Huxley, that in practice it seems unlikely that this hoped for consummation will ever be realized.  She is interested in the way that desire is invoked by a sparkling object and the relationship this has to a mystical experience. Consider the lighting systems in shop windows and interiors, designed in order to accentuate shine and sparkle; or high-end make-up packaging, Chanel for example, with its luxurious black lacquer shine, in fact, even the cheaper kitsch version of make-up uses sparkle. It is a fascination, like the mescaline trip descriptions in Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception, upon which he speculates about mystical experience particularly in the visual/physiological/material sense. He traces the kind of physiological aspects that one experiences in a state of either drug-induced or self-induced mystical trance that often include the presence of lights, multi-coloured lights, and change of light. He then goes on to discuss how we construct a mythology around gems and attribute value to certain precious stones; emeralds found in fairy tales, for example. Huxley wonders which came first, the mystical experience or our seeking of precious stones from the earth. Things that shine and sparkle and the mystical suggests to Gluzberg that the make-up package is a long removed attempt at making the mystical which then in turn produces the mystical experience creating a sparkling cycle of material desire.


Similarly, a cycle of desire is reproduced in the want-and-need looping rhythms of addiction. We witness one such cycle through the beautiful and damned character of Clara in Octave Mirbeau’s novel, The Torture Garden.  Once a week Clara visits the torture garden, a secret garden filled with exotic flowers and hidden spaces where she and her lover watch at close range acts of violence and torture played out.  Emma is aroused in her voyeuristic desire for violence that is heightened by the smell of the intoxicating perfumes of flowers and the putrification of flesh. She is not alone in her particular taste that conflates violence and romance. Other women visit the torture garden. It is a surreptitious mass hysteria. Afterwards, Clara slips away to an opium den-boat where she faints and lies in a trance for 24 hours. She disdains how she is affected by what she has experienced and repents. But as the story ends we find her returning to the torture garden. It is an addictive cycle that Gluzberg likens to the relationship between consumption and marketing. The aim of marketing is to get the consumer to buy and further, get the consumer to return to buy even more. It creates an illusion of fulfillment for something that can never be fulfilled. Herein lies its secret.  Its spell goes something like this: “This thing is beautiful and perfect. You want it. You need it. It will make you feel better. You buy it. Why did I buy it? I shouldn’t have. I don’t have the money. It is just another thing. It does nothing for me.”



Although it is Clara’s voyeuristic desire for violence that is central to the narrative of the book, there are fleeting moments of description of her clothing; yellow silk stockings, a cuff trimmed in mink, pearls draped across her back. Gluzberg picks up on this fashion sense seen in the characters of Emma and Clara, as indicative of an awareness of the self as an image. Gluzberg believes it is often women who possess this awareness and that it can be used as a tool, a way of using the body. Historically this was the prerogative of the courtesan, yet it is no different from what is today described as power dressing and it can be seen as way in which we fictionalize ourselves.




Gluzberg wants things to mesh, the fictional and the experiential, the splicing of spaces and times, images and angles, which create ambiguities that are difficult to discern and difficult to read.  It is a reflection of what is going on in her head about the objects in her photographs, which is a slightly confused state of desire about these objects. She knows that she herself is implicated in these kind of female states of desire, its exploitation, its self-inflicted agony. She is not sure what it is exactly but she certainly knows she is not immune to it. Often she has been asked if her work is a Marxist critique. In some ways it is critical in that it examines critically what this territory of desire and consumption is, but she does not provide an answer because she is not sure what the answer is, because each time she walks past a Chanel shop she still looks at it with a certain longing.



瑪格麗塔·格魯茲玻格(Margarita Gluzberg)經常被小說中特殊的角色所吸引,還有人物吐露真情的方式,甚至是這些人物對於自己的情感隱藏,將自己隱於或暴露於生活秩序的混亂之下,抑或是暴露在慾望的空洞。格魯茲玻格想的正是福樓拜(Gustave Flaubert)小說《包法利夫人(Madame Bovary)》中的那個艾瑪(Emma)。艾瑪是一個被慾望消費的人物,這體現在她精心挑選她的帽子、絲質陽傘,還有她的蕾絲邊手帕,用來擦拭她強烈渴望的淚水,那是她渴望逃離在外鄉孤獨,渴望逃離她醫生丈夫的孤獨。艾瑪渴望巴黎,因為她認為她所缺少的是浪漫的愛情。她借錢去買傢具、面料和衣服而填補這種空虛。她對於浪漫的渴求,使得她捲入婚外情並且被罪惡感吞噬得瞬間而空虛。她意識到“我是個罪人”,而且她應該信奉宗教來讓她懺悔。她就是她要買的天主教念珠串:精美,做工精緻,細節精良,直到最終耗盡所有的精神價值而稱為時尚配件。艾瑪是慾望的消費者並且在消費過程中完全摧毀了自己。這種消費模式對於格魯茲玻格的藝術俱有重要意義。她自創了“consumystic”一詞,以此來形容慾望、消費和神秘的混合概念。


總體看來,格魯茲玻格將“consumystic”融入到了幾乎每張作品的標題中,並且,她同樣通過不同媒介來追尋這個概念。比如,她的多重曝光照片是以時尚季的角度拍攝的。她製作了80張圖片幻燈片系列並命名 為《Consumystic之秋》。現在又有了《Consumystic之冬》,而且,她還計劃拍攝春夏系列。她使用“consumystic”這一詞來描述消費和神秘的狀態,這個狀態同樣也是她來認識自我以及自己和購物的曖昧關係。一旦心血來潮的時候,就好似著了魔,她覺得她非常需要某種東西,比如一雙鞋,就好似上癮似的,她並不在乎是否花掉了她最後一分錢,因為這雙鞋是她所需要的。她處在神秘國度,或者說,至少是處於某種神秘感覺,因為這種神秘已經超越理性。或者也許是一種歇斯底里,但是格魯茲玻格選擇了這個俱有心靈象徵意義的詞彙代替,因為這個詞看起來是她所想。而關於她所表達的意思,有些人也許會想到一個更險惡的詞彙。


格魯茲玻格通常在黃昏時拍攝她的作品──她所想要的拍攝對象在這個時刻時看上去是處在一個虛幻的頂級慾望狀態,這時,街景變暗,櫥窗里的商品閃著耀眼的光芒,仿佛觸手可及。她漫步在邦德街(Bond Street)、斯隆街(Sloane Street)和那些因奢侈品牌而著名的街道,還有那些諸如哈維·尼蔻斯(Harvey Nichols)、塞爾富瑞治斯(Selfridges)、哈羅斯(Harrods)的高級百貨公司,用她的話來描述就好似是一個媚俗的夢魘但又仍然迷人。照片的拍攝地很難得知,因為照片多是雙重曝光,有時,甚至是三重曝光。底片所紀錄的是若干空間──若干現實的空間。有可能,她某天拍攝了一張照片,也許一周以後,她又第二次曝光底片來再次拍攝──也許甚至在半小時以後第三次曝光拍攝──這樣,她便同時創造了拼貼和蒙太奇的效果。在拼接了時間的同時,她又拼接了空間,這些時間與空間往往是相似的地方,既為消費者設計的空間。她所依靠的是那些發生事情的時刻;也許一個車座與內衣還有光的並置。這是一種回應超現實主義者們策略的的技法,這種技法使得圖片成為攝影蒙太奇,也是她在試圖將品牌商店變成夢境時,概念與他物的有機結合。




理想情況下,我們應該可以在一些純粹的或實用的宗教中找到自我超越,格魯茲玻格分享了她對於奧爾德斯·赫胥黎(Aldous Huxley)的觀點,既在實踐中,對於成就的希望永遠不實現是不太可能的。慾望被閃閃發光的對象所激發,而格魯茲玻格所感興趣的也正是這種與之關聯的神秘經驗。想想看,櫥窗的照明系統和內部設計,就是為了突顯那種閃閃發亮的效果;或者說那些高端的化妝品包裝,比如夏奈兒的豪華黑漆光澤,事實上,所有甚至那些廉價低俗的化妝品也都使用光澤感。這是一種魔力,如同奧爾德斯·赫胥黎的《眾妙之門(Doors of Perception)》中的對於酶斯卡靈(一種致幻劑)之旅的描述,他對於那種神秘體驗的描述,尤其是那種視覺/生理/精神的感覺。他追溯了生理方面的感覺,就是一個人在藥物誘導或者是自我誘導的神秘恍惚狀態下,通常都會出現光、多彩的光和變化的光。之後,他討論了我們對於寶石或某些具有珍貴價值的石頭是如何構建神話的;比如童話是如何出於祖母綠之中。赫胥黎想知道哪個是先出現的,是那些奇幻的體驗還是我們對於寶石的追求。而對於格魯茲玻格來說,那些光澤熠熠的事物和神秘的東西使她聯想到,長久以來化妝品的包裝是一種消除神秘感的企圖,但反過來它卻又製造了那些神秘的體驗,這種體驗創造了物質慾望的金光熠熠的循環。


同樣,慾望的循環是對於“想要-需要”往復循環。我們見證了這個循環在奧克塔夫·米爾博(Octave Mirbeau)的小說《秘密花園(The Torture Garden)》裡的那個外表美麗而內心令人生畏的克拉拉(Clara)身上的體現。克拉拉每週造訪一次酷刑花園,一個充滿異域花朵和隱蔽空間的秘密花園,在那裡她和她的情人在近距離觀看暴力和酷刑。在醉人的花香和血肉的腐臭中,艾瑪被召喚來只為滿足她的窺視暴力的慾望。對於她這種暴力與浪漫相混合的獨特喜好,她並不孤單。其他的女人也會來觀賞這個酷刑花園。這是一個詭異的集體歇斯底里。後來,克拉拉溜到一條鴉片船,在那裡,她昏昏噩噩,神志恍惚地躺了24個小時。她鄙視以往經歷對於她的影響,她後悔了。但是,在故事的結尾,她還是回到了酷刑花園。同樣,這種令人沈迷的循環也是格魯茲玻格對於消費和市場兩者關係的比喻。市場的目的是讓消費者購買,並且進一步讓消費者回來並且消費更多。它創造了一種對於某種事物的滿足卻又永遠滿足不了的假象。秘密恰就在於此。某件東西的咒語大都是這樣的:“這件東西真是太美了,近乎完美。你想要它。你需要它。它會讓你感覺更好。你買它吧。為什麼我要買它?我不應該買的。我沒有錢。它僅僅是另一件東西。它對我來說確實沒什麼用。”


雖然整本書的敘事是圍繞者克拉拉對於暴力的窺淫慾展開的,但其中也不乏對於她服裝的簡短描寫:黃色絲質長襪、水貂修剪的袖口還有珍珠綴掛在她的後背。格魯茲玻格挑選了這些艾瑪和克拉拉的時尚片段,作為圖像式的自我意識的陳述。格魯茲玻格相信,正是女人才會擁有這種意識,並且這種意識可以視作一種工具, 一種運用身體的方式。從歷史上看,這是妓女的特權,但它與今天我們所說的從衣著體現權威不無區別,同樣,我們亦可以將它理解為我們小說化自己的方式。






Born in Moscow, Margarita Gluzberg has lived and worked in London since 1979. Her practice spans across drawing, performance, sound installation, photography and moving image. Past solo exhibitions include Funk of Terror Into Psychic Bricks (2007)The Money Plot (2008), both at Paradise Row, London. With her most recent project, Avenue des Gobelins, Paradise Row, 2012, she presented a new body of analogue photographic work in the form of slide projection. Her ongoing sound project: The Captive Bird Society was performed at the MacVal Museum, Paris and an expanded version was commissioned for the official programme of the Nuit Blanche in 2009. Gluzberg’s work has been included in group shows in major European venues such as CAC, Vilnius; Rooseum, Malmo; Kunsthal KAdE, The Netherlands; Lunds Konsthall, Lund; and Baibakov Art Projects, Moscow.


生於莫斯科,瑪格麗塔·格魯茲玻格從1979年開始就生活於並在倫敦工作。她的藝術實踐包括繪畫,表演,聲音裝置,攝影及動態影像。曾兩次在倫敦的Paradise Row畫廊舉辦個展──’Funk of Terror Into Psychic Bricks (2007)’和’The Money Plot (2008)’。2012年,她在Paradise Row畫廊進行了她最新的項目’ Avenue des Gobelins’,運用幻燈片投射方式來展現模擬攝影作品的新載體。仍在進行的聲音藝術項目’ The Captive Bird Society’曾於巴黎MacVal博物館展示,更於2009年受Nuit Blanche藝術節的委托為其官方項目進行了擴延版本的創作。格魯茲玻格的作品已參展於各大歐洲展館的重要群展,例如維爾紐斯的CAC,馬爾默的Rooseum,荷蘭的Kunsthal KAdE,倫德的Lunds Konsthall,莫斯科的Baibakov Art Projects。




Paradise Row Gallery:



© 2011 ART.ZIP all rights reserved.  ISBN 977 2050 415202

Site by XYCO