Dutch artist Milena Naef lives and works in Amsterdam. As the fourth generation of a family sculpting in stone, she was surrounded by arts (and sculpture in particular) all her life. Because of that, Naef uses marble as a primary artistic material although not in a traditional way.
In her work, she questions ‘existing’ structures that are inherent to herself. She searches for new connections between the cognitive and physical, attempting to capture the assumed duality between body and mind. Furthermore, she translates characteristics of her personal experiences into the material. And the body itself, with its physical presence and its absence, becomes a vital aspect of her work.
The series of sculptures Fleeting Parts started from the work Weight of Four Generations. Milena Naef took a heavy piece of marble, practically a rock, and drilled a hole equal to the size of her leg. For her, this work is quite literally about dealing with the context of my family.
While letting the stone weigh her body, it becomes an extension of her. This way, she creates something that only fits her body. Even though the weight chained her movement, she was the one who brought it upon. In other words, Milena Naef explores the physical and mental weight of the stone by using her own body.
In Fleeting Parts artist not only honors the sculptural history of her family but also employs a very personal performative element. Carved spaces in the large marble sheets frame parts of her body while she physically bears the weight of her works and sits alongside them as one. With this work, Milena Naef demonstrates the strength, complexity, and fragility of her body. Hollow spaces in the marble act as a frame, highlighting the curves and the tones of Naef’s figure as if she were a material herself.