on being divine
Project info

Sphinx: “Am I the first woman, Anubis, whose clothes you have taken off? My fatihful dog, listen! As our appearance is just a masquerade, you must give me your jackalhead.”

– Jean Cocteau “La Machine infernale”, 1934

In Cocteau’s surrealistic adaptation of the Greek myth, King Oedipus, the Sphinx shows that it was not only Oedipus’ fate that was predetermined and questions the absurdity of her masquerade and her destiny to kill the people of Theben.

Ancient Greek tragedies are defined by the dominance of a power like divine fate. But still, the Greek playwrights believed that humans were able to make free choices even if the gods had other plans for their lives. Cocteau further pointed out the absurdity of predetermination by asking what happens when divine beings question their own fate.

In this work, Nina Röder questions (genetic) determination, predestination, fate and free will with showing the masquerade of different antique gods. In “On being divine” she works with taxidermy forms to illustrate this divine masquerade as well as to develop a metaphor based on her South Bavarian ancestry, where taxidermied animals are a dominant and highly visible decoration.

Title: on being divine
Year: 2012
Place: Boston / USA
Technique: Hahnemühle Fine Art Prints
Size: various sizes