They Live

glazed ceramics,
wooden fence posts,
acrylic paint, coal,
glass ashtrays, cottonwool,
flicker diodes, plasticine,
water hose, smoke machine

︎ A:D:Curatorial , Berlin


They Live, exhibitions views, A:D:Curatorial, Berlin, 2023
Fotos: Carsten Becker

Three gigantic cigarettes align their embers in a musketeer sword gesture – big godlike figures lurking over a metropolis occupied by an army of nearly one hundred awkwardly bending little cigarettes.The Installation ‘They Live’ encompasses multiple works, including ‘Torches of Freedom’, ‘Pizza Nikotina’, ‘One for all, all for one’, and ‘Breasticles’. The title is taken from the 1988 film directed by John Carpenter, a science fiction film that follows a drifter named Nada who discovers a pair of sunglasses that reveal a hidden reality, exposing an alien presence manipulating human society through subliminal messages. As Nada fights to expose the truth and awaken others to the deception, the film explores themes of consumerism, media control, and the struggle for individual autonomy in a world governed by hidden forces. They Live delves into the intersection between gender, societal constructs, and the tobacco industry's historical manipulation. exploration of the intricate connections between gender roles, societal constructs, and the pervasive influence of industries willing to manipulate perceptions for their own gains.


 Torches of Freedom

In the 1960s and 1970s, the tobacco industry embarked on a strategic marketing campaign aimed at enticing women to become consumers. During this period, smoking in public spaces was presented as a symbol of female emancipation, as women were encouraged to embrace the act of smoking as a demonstration of independence and equality with men. The installation's title, "Torches of Freedom," harkens back to this specific era, referencing the term coined by public relations pioneer Edward Bernays to describe cigarettes as symbols of liberation for women.
„Torches of Freedom“ draws attention to the tobacco industry's historical role as a pioneer in disseminating false information regarding the health risks associated with smoking. It serves as a poignant reminder of the industry's deceptive tactics, which extended far beyond marketing strategies aimed at women's emancipation.



Breasticles is a sculpture that challenges gender norms and binaries. Depicting a penis that instead of testicles, has a pair of breasts attached, it discusses the dichotomy between the strength and power often associated with masculinity versus the weakness and passivity associated with femininity. It examines the lack of equality between males and females in our society, particularly through the use of language. For example, the phrase "to have balls" is often used to connote strength and courage, while the phrase "being a pussy" implies weakness and cowardice. This reinforces the idea that masculinity is equated with power, and femininity with weakness. Breasts are often seen as symbols of nurturing and motherhood, while the penis is associated with sexual desire and procreation. Yet, both organs are capable of producing fluids that are crucial for the continuation of life. By subverting traditional gender norms through the use of the penis and breasts in one sculpture, the work also addresses the topic of gender fluidity and marks a moment of transformation in our society. ‘Breasticles’ stands as symbol for taking action in dismantling gender-based discrimination and promoting equal opportunities for all, regardless of gender identity.