BY Mathilde Rosier in Influences | 31 JAN 13
Featured in
Issue 8

Karneval II

In this series, frieze d/e asks artists, curators and writers to think about the meaning and impact of a word

BY Mathilde Rosier in Influences | 31 JAN 13

Carnival always looks the same in Cologne: a photo that could have been taken in 2013, on a record cover from 1956

I am obsessed with all social activities that challenge the laws of logic. Carnival is one of these absurdly purposeful rituals. Why do people still gather to do irrational things? That is what I have been trying to figure out for some years by taking part in many highly codified and odd celebrations in diverse communities. It seems that behind the apparent disorder there is a master plan.

Carnival, like hypnosis, is a fall into an abyss. It is a deliberate surrender to obscure forces within the collective as well as within the individual. Through repetition, this ritual breaks the rigid frontier between the realm of reason and the realm of dreams: the underworld.

We grow in the light but we transform in the dark. And here is the paradox; when otherwise rational people are able to go far into irrational experiences, they are able to reach a higher level of understanding. Some games are dangerous and can lead to dead ends, like fanaticism. But people get to this point because they understand the potentiality of the irrational – they just approach it with too much greed. One should remain detached from any precise goal in those matters.

Mathilde Rosier is an artist based in Berlin. For her exhibitions at Kunstpalais, Erlangen, Germany and Camden Arts Centre, London, UK (both 2011), she turned the openings into a masquerade, Cruising on the Deck, where visitors were invited to wear a mask in the shape of a seashell. A comprehensive catalogue on her work, Ceremonially Infused, was published in 2011.