i have a body
and I am grateful,
as I find it to be a very useful instrument
for expressing love, strength, flexibility, grace
but, I am not my body…
– Kate Mullane Robertson
Worked as a collage the Frigid Divas collection series is finished in a glass frame. Oil on wood in three levels with elaborate knitting elements opens several interpretation layers. The typical diva profile is enhanced by a three-quarter profile, allowing for the first time eye contact. The bare breast carries with it a strong element of eroticism and provocation, in then meantime, showing also a new level of vulnerability, openness and femininity.
Playing with expectations has grown primarily around the component of irony. Self-deprecation is clearest in the Epodic Diva: the wintry backdrop, the impudent, lascivious look, the funny knitted fox fur, framed by the Financial Times, puts together a not entirely serious ensemble. The Dactylic Diva, which is shown with a hipster hat, while in the background Elisabeth Browning’s passionate poem from the “Sonnets from the Portuguese” is scratched into the background, reflects on a match with modern and past media.
Although they could not be more deliberate, the paintings communicate the distinct feeling of having already been altered by time. This is due both to the objects Miki often employs as well as the delicate way she assembles them. Detailed, intimate and in a seemingly transient state Miki’s subjects are often ambiguous, and the scale of details entices one to look more carefully and consider the image further. It is impossible not to think of stereotypes of our time, always changing depending on one’s perspective. Yet whilst the subject matter appears ephemeral, the materiality of the painting reinforces its permanence, cementing in time what would otherwise be fleeting.
The backdrop carvings of the Dactylic Diva read a poem from
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–61) Sonnets from the Portuguese, IV:
THOU hast thy calling to some palace-floor,
Most gracious singer of high poems! where
The dancers will break footing, from the care
Of watching up thy pregnant lips for more.
And dost thou lift this house’s latch too poor
For hand of thine? and canst thou think and bear
To let thy music drop here unaware
In folds of golden fulness at my door?
Look up and see the casement broken in,
The bats and owlets builders in the roof!
My cricket chirps against thy mandolin.
Hush, call no echo up in further proof
Of desolation! there ’s a voice within
That weeps … as thou must sing … alone, aloof.