Basel Snapshots: Musa Paradisiaca

Shamanic revelry and everyday making at Liste

By ArtReview

Musa Paradisiaca,  Tetas (2017)

Musa Paradisiaca’s Tetas (2017), at Dan Gunn, Liste

You’ll search in vein for concrete meaning in Musa Paradisiaca’s odd icons. Made of polyester resin and fibreglass (but perhaps easily mistaken for ceramic), and collected, wall-hung, together at Dan Gunn’s stand at Liste, they nonetheless invite an imaginative backstory. There’s something ritualistic about them; perhaps, fancifully, they are vestiges of some shamanic revelry, or a messy shrine of uncertain cultural origin.

Tetas (Teats, 2017) for example takes the form of a carved and intricate belt, from which hangs a set of elongated nipples. At the end of each however is a mark which approximates an eye. It is – for this writer’s eyes – weird and slightly disturbing. With this strange enigmatic sculpture, alongside its partners, the Lisbon-based artist duo (their moniker derives from the Latin name for the banana tree) summon up questions of primal creativity and everyday making, nods to the exotic and the ‘other’, to ritual and belief systems.  

Published online 13 June 2017