„I want to talk about things that people don’t want to see.“: In conversation with Moran Sanderovich

I met performance artist Moran Sanderovich for the first time at the launch event of The Price of Silver is Going Up. Her presence as a performer was striking, we decided to meet up for an interview. The costumes she inhabits are mystic sculptures, beautiful yet grotesque body extentions from an utopian realm of monstrous desire for expression.


The aesthetics of your costumes are flirting with disgust and beauty. Abject at it‘s best.  How do you create the costumes for your perfomances?

I‘m searching for a way to change the body. That‘s why I‘m using materials that look like „body“. Because I work in a way that makes the body subject, I‘m searching for ways to change the body, limit the body, so it has a new kind of aesthetic and movement. My costumes always try to put the inside out. I feel blocked inside, society brings certain limitations on me. I try to put them outside the body. The costumes help mo do that, for example this thing, I can put in my arms, like this, inside, so my arm is limited, but this thing makes a new kind of creature. A new kind of being and then you have a new kind of movement. That creates a new energy. That‘s why I don‘t do video art or painting. Actually I started from drawings and sculpture, but then I wanted to be more alife. I wanted people to feel something!

So you extended your body with your inner parts, you put them outside. That‘s really interesting.

Yes, and this for example, my legs, I can‘t work normally. I‘m looking for something like superheroes have it. They always have some kind of difficulty, an imperferction, and because of this imperfection it becomes more than human.I‘m searching for that, how from the pain, how from the places that are not powerful, the weak places, how you can gain more powers, so in a way when you see this image, its repulsive, it looks damaged but on the other hand you see something which is beast-like and even more strong than a normal human being.

Insight Skin, 2012, 1 performer, 20 minutes

This reminds me a lot of mythological creatures. How do your art and mythology intersect, and is there something like an utopian or maybe dystopian realm you try to create with your performances?  A  place beyond our imagination which actually refers to our realities. Making a twist in your performance, playing with bodies that could exist…

It‘s very opposited, I make all these extentions actually to reveal the inside. It‘s a bit like the old ceremonies in the tribes with the shaman who puts on a costume of a demon and then from this he goes through a trance and through taking in all these hard places, places that people are afraid of… Putting on these costumes, for freeing myself, putting out the most delicate and weak places. In a way its ambigue. The costume is so provocative. On the other way its so…

…vulnerable maybe?

Yeah, it‘s giving me the possibility to seek inside the human.

Do you feel vulnerable when you wear your costumes?

I feel in one way very vulnerable. And in the other way very powerful. That‘s the thing, I feel the two of them together all the time. That‘s what I try to show, it‘s powerful, very weird looking, cause of this weird looking it also has power.


Your presence as a person is very strong. You have a great aura and great attitude. I wondered how important is the personal attitutude of a performer to you. Or how much is talent and how much is learnable?

Performer are artists that have all these things inside. When you asked me about different kinds of artists, I would say there are some who work more intellectual, you need to learn and they want to learn. More and more and more.
And these artists are the opposit of my way. I come from this, not basic, but very emotional and physical places, so for me it was very natural to come to performance art.  Because I wanted the things to be more and more, maybe authentic, to make people feel it in their body. So if I make a painting, maybe you can feel it in your body, I love plastic art, of course they touch, but if I face the energy of a person in he is inside the sculpture or the sculpture has a life, an energy of its own, then of course it is more strong, it‘s going through something.

So your costumes are more like sculptures? You are wearing sculptures?

Yeah, it‘s sculpture! In a way, I‘m a sculpturist with life. The performer is inside a sculpture.

wolf auf tausend plateaus x Moran Sanderovich from wolf auf tausend plateaus on Vimeo.

When I went through your past performances, I felt like there is a thread in your work. You work with similiar materials, it is always very fleshy, grotesque, bizarre and the same time beautiful. On the one hand, it seems like you became more personal and subtle and on the other hand the topics you deal with are a bit more relevant on the individual level when it comes to questions you raise about social norms. For example in one statement I read you said that you want to show things that bother the Israelian society, the last things I saw where more personal…

I feel like Israel is inside my body and in my costumes. So the history of this tribe and the complex situation we went through is inside of me and when I‘m performing it comes out. It‘s the same for me when I talk about womanhood, the conflict, the complex situation of woman and what I went through as a woman. It‘s all inside.

Is it about identity struggles?

It‘s not so much about identity, it has more to do with me.  Since I was very young, I had a strong drive to go out and to discover. So when I was young I started straveling on my own and as a, I guess, kind of nice looking girl I got into situations especially in Israel and in countries where men can be very vulgar. I faced off a lot of bad things that have to do with men and how they behave towards women. Because I was living in Jerusalem, I saw all these surpressed women. I have only one sister and she is an Orthodox, so all the time I deal with her being a woman. Or her husband, he cant look at me, he‘s talking to me like that. (turning her had to the site) All these things are interesting to deal with, how society how religion treats woman, what you can reveal how does it feel to be so..? There is a strong place for the beast, and that‘s when sexuality comes in.


You refer to the connection between woman and beast? Does the supressed woman turn into a beast for you?

I think it‘s more complicated (laughing)

Of course, it always is.

I think the beast comes in so many different ways for me as a woman. Because you are so much surpressed and because you are so confused about the way how you can show your sexuality, and then in the end, you just want to explode.

It sounds like you are trying to get rid of the male gaze. What you describe is very connected to masculinity, there are boarders because of men. Setting yourself as woman free from the man that defines you. A feminist endeavour?

Yeah, I don‘t like works that always deal with woman, I‘m seeking to deal with humans in my work.

Fuck gender.

Because im a woman, the history of me being a woman is there and what I went through is in my work also, so what I‘m seeing, what I‘m taking in my work, is part of who I am, also as a woman.


You live in Berlin for three years now, and it‘s a klischee question, everytime you ask someone: why did you move to Berlin. But considering your past and your background it turns into an interesting question again. So: why Berlin? And how does the citiy influence your work?

Since I was very young I was travelling and living in different communities that were outside the normal society. When I was thirteen I lived in different squads, hippie communities, every kind of places, also in the dessert in Israel, many different places. I wanted to come back to Israel to study, because I felt like I have so much inside and I need tools for it. So I went back to Israel for to study, but I couldn‘t stay there. I knew that when I was finished I had to go out into the world. And for me Berlin is the world. It‘s a city where I can live without a lot of money. I think it‘s like a global space for creative people. I feel at home here. And about Israel, because I‘m a sensitive person, it feels like it‘s too much, because I was dealing with so much. I was an activist. You do so much, but in the end you see no solution. You become frustrated… I became a monster.

… the beast again…

People are so frustrated and negative. If you have the possibility to go out and breath, you just have to. I just had to. Even though I feel weird about not being an activist anymore and not being part of people who want to think different and want to change the way it goes… In my point of view, we are going into a very bad direction.

I totally agree, but don‘t you think something is coming, here in the city? People can smell that they should do something. There is a a lot more activism, especially in the art scene.

I think the same, people ask again: why art? For me it was always about things under the carpet. Ok, in my studio it‘s on the carpet, but…

That‘s why it‘s your studio and not the outside world.

I want to talk about things that people don‘t want to see. This is a big part of why I‘m doing art.

Thank you for the interview, Moran!



Images + Video by Apostol Kardamov

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