Seeking safety for the queer body, Liliana Zeic looks to the world of plants, which become the guides of her story.
There is a great deal of tenderness in her engagement with the delicate tissues of wood, in how she works their surfaces, in the composition of the minor and fragile elements. It is twofold as she is sensitive towards matter she touches, and to herself as well. The rhythmical, repetitive activities are soothing, like a mantra. The afterimages of difficult memories of her parents’ carpentry workshop fade.
Zeic discovers the scent of varnish and structure of the veneer for herself, translating both into compositions that speak of intimacy and liberation through radical closeness. She builds a visual code of working through trauma by taming sexual practices, as if she were arranging an herbarium.
She also avails herself of nettle fibre, a greatly robust and yet delicate filament. This ambiguity of the cleansing and purifying herbs in which one sees but weeds goes all the way back to Slavic fairy tales, in which extramarital sex was called “jumping into nettles” and a child out of wedlock was a “nettle foundling”, born by a “nettlebride”. Still, the term did not necessarily denote her being condemned by the community. It could just as well have expressed implicit appreciation for the courage to take risks for the sake of instinct, intuition, freedom.
Zeic intercepts the notion, creating a space of enchantment with the non-normative, with what lies on the borderline/beyond the boundary of social approval.