As the fourth generation of a family sculpting in stone, Milena Naef practices a contemporary approach to using marble as an artistic material. In ‘Fleeting Parts’, Naef uses her own body to explore the physical and mental weight of the stone.
The project allows the Amsterdam-based artist to honour the sculptural history of her family, but Naef also employs a performative element that makes ‘Fleeting Parts’ inherently personal. Having carved away at large marble sheets to create spaces to frame parts of her body, Naef now bears the weight of her works and sits alongside them as one. She demonstrates the strength, intricacy and fragility of her body and the series appears to represent an endearing, primitive interaction with stone. The title considers the ephemeral nature of a body and its capabilities, referencing the artist’s awareness that “the plates can be seen as objects that captured a moment in time when [her] body actually merged with them (almost like an archive).” Considering the carved marble as a frame for the body, a viewer’s eye is focused to notice the contours, curves and tones of Naef’s figure as if she were a material herself, in a way that is simultaneously intimate and objective. It can be assumed that when the marble has been lifted, new marks have been made, imprinted on her shoulders, back and hips for their own fleeting moment.