Morula is one of the early stages of gestation which pertains to most living creatures. The term, morula, derives from the Latin morus (mulberry) because of the cells' clustered structure.
Each organism undergoes a series of metamorphoses during its life cycle, returning to its origin in the end, dying, and being reborn as something new.
Ohii's site-specific installation is a dark dive into instinctive desire and intense, even violent processes of metamorphosis.
In her first solo exhibition at the off-site temporary space Piano Zero, an ex-carpentry workshop, and grocery store, Katya Ohii explores the themes of transformation of an entity, linked to the ancient symbol of the Right-hand and Left-hand Path.
Ohii’s research delves into the Left-hand Path—fast, often brutal, and dangerous to the life and mental health of the individual.
In more recent definitions, based on the terms' origins in Indian Tantra, the Right-Hand Path and the Left-Hand Path adopt opposite attitudes but have the same goal in the end.
Opposed to the Right-hand Path, the Left-hand Path is often painful and abrupt, but most accessible and familiar for the majority in the ever-accelerating modern world.
MORULA occupied 64 square meters of space in total.
It consisted of eleven sculptural objects, one massive wooden structure, splashing out to the corridor, sound installation, and video performance.
The exhibition path is circular.
The first room is filled with hybrid creatures in the process of formation.
Fluid and erotic, they are fetuses in the gestation phase with both artificial and organic features, uncanny and attractive at the same time.
Here we find soft, nocturnal lighting to symbolize the darkness before birth.
Then, we move forward to the massive 20-square-meter wooden structure—the installation MORULA that embodies the Path of the Right and Left hands, a fork between internal moral choices.
The fallen branches for MORULA were taken from three different forests in Rome and covered with caramel, which was constantly melting and transforming during the exhibition, accompanied by the sound design by Michele Papa, which was specially created for the MORULA installation.
At the end of the exhibition, we meet the Mother—BALIA—the personification of the return to the origin.
The soft sculpture, made of metal wires, styrofoam rolls, and IV fluid solution bags filled with soy milk, was a central object and hosted the performer inside its body.
This performance, which took place during the week of the exhibition, resulted in a short film in collaboration with Australian artist and director Finn O’Hanlon.
The video work and performance BALIA acts to summarize the main conceptual essence of the exhibition.
This work depicts the borderline state of an entity going through a metamorphosis, an intense and dangerous experience that causes the rapid evolution of consciousness.
“I knew - but I did know that I have crossed
The border. Everything I loved was lost
But no aorta could report regret.
A sun of rubber was convulsed and set;
And blood-black nothingness began to spin
A system of cells interlinked within
Cells interlinked within cells interlinked
Within one stem. And dreadfully distinct
Against the dark, a tall white fountain played.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire, epigraph
This work aims to depict the borderline state of an entity going through a metamorphosis, an intense and dangerous experience that causes the rapid evolution of consciousness.
You were born without knowing where.
You crawl, feeling the world around you.
You are blind and hungry.
You drink your mother's milk, absorbing the knowledge of those who lived before until you feel sick from it.
It overwhelms you, initiating a metamorphosis.
You have no way back.
You die to be born again.
Having drunk the milk of knowledge of those existing prior to you, you take the last exhale and a new inhale, in a new form.
According to legend, a milk spring flows in the Ukrainian Carpathians on the Black Mountain, after drinking from it, you go to the kingdom come, where the souls live.
Now in the whole territory of Ukraine, millions of souls find themselves between death and life — in a state of transition against their will.
Pain and discomfort accompany you during the transition. When you are born it hurts to breathe for the first time. You think dying hurts, too. However, after going through the agony of metamorphosis, you begin to see while being blind.
produced in collaboration with Piano Zer0 | art direction by Claudio Guerrieri
Finn O’Hanlon: Director and editor | Oleksandr Radomskyi: Executive producer | Michele Papa: Composer
Gabriella Trulli: 1st assistant director and editor | Tilde Kay Snyder: Production assistant and prop design | Stefania Plaza Mora: Curator and production assistant
STEFANIA PLAZA MORA,
TILDE KAY SNYDER,
Photographers: PATRIZIO GENTILE, DANIELE ALLEGRITTI, OLEKSANDR RADOMSKYI
FUNDED AND SUPPORTED BY
AND STEFANIA PLAZA MORA
Texts by Stefania Plaza Mora, Ohii Katya and Nika Varlamova