"This mastery over existing is the power of beginning, of starting out from itself, starting from itself neither to act nor to think, but to be" -[Levinas; time and the other]
Mette Sterre creates sculptural costumes that cover the wearer's entire body as a mask. The way in which the complex body masks restrict and permit movement forms the basis of her performances, installations and films. Sterre investigates how the human contour can be disturbed in the broadest sense, both ideologically and materially, in order to question what more we can be, other than merely human.
Although the wearer is the one who animates the mask, it is the mask that forces a new body language and thus a different state of being onto the wearer. It is her ambition to make human movement more inhuman, and to reflect the conviction that human beings are not the centre of the universe. The concealing mask makes its wearer unrecognizable, with DIY robots, voluminous materials and prostheses functioning as bodily extensions.
Sterre experiments with different technologies to shape the movements, making the performance seem alien. She values the physical qualities of the sensory perception of structures and textures. How does it feel for the wearer to embody the masks and how does the viewer perceive these creatures?
Mette Sterre is currently working on performative installations with several body masks that are their own beings within the artificial space of her studio. This uncanny environment makes it possible to investigate, both intuitively and rationally, our perception of what we consider to be living matter.
Biography Mette Sterre During and after graduating in 2006 from the Bachelor Autonomous Fine Art Bachelor at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, I started making short movies revolving around the notions of the grotesque. Through this I started performing and creating costumes that I see as sculptures, distorting the human contour, creating hybrids. Wanting ot research and develop the theatrical side of my practice, I moved to London in 2011 where I started at the Master Program Performance and Creative Research at the University of Roehampton, but switched after a half year to the MA Performance Design & Practice at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, graduating in 2014. I further developed my ideas around the body, movement and materiality as well the development of a more concise understanding of the grotesque, which was the main subject of my master thesis. I'm now a visiting practitioner at Central Saint Martins and mentor for BA Textile Design students at Chelsea College of Arts. After 7 years living and working in London I’ve moved back to the Netherlands where I’m currently doing a 2 year residency at the post-graduate program of the prestigious Rijksakademie of Visual Arts in Amsterdam until the end of 2020, where I'm currently researching Robotics,trans-humanism, inter sectional feminism, eroticims and speculative fictions and materiality. My work has been shown in the Prague Theatre Design Quadrinale, the Watermill Center and Cue Art Foundation in New York, Glasgow International, the Trienale Design Museum in Milan, Kunstverein in Hamburg, Migros Museum, London Design Week, Fashion Gallery in London, Gallery Esmeralda in Curacao, the Museum of Everything in the Kunsthal, David Roberts Art Foundation's Evening of Performances in Club Koko in London. I've worked with Monster Chetwynd, Robert Wilson, Andrey Bartanev, Dimitris Papaioannou, Getinthebackofthevan, Christopher Knowles amongst others. My work has been published in Vogue, the Wall street Journal, the New York Times, Artefact Magazine and Volkskrant Magazine, NRC, Parool, Artforum and Xzibit Magazine.