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7 – SIEBEN – SEVEN – 七

Hidden Mermaids

By Clara Luise Bernhard,

Sojo Gallery, Kumamoto, 04.07.2023 – 16.07.2023

Water - H2O - is a molecule that knows no boundaries. Water molecules are the true world travellers; each one has been in every living creature, in every cloud, in all the oceans.

Many cultures know magical water beings - possibly magic has travelled around the world with the water molecules. There are seven interconnected oceans, seven days of the week, every seven years the human body is renewed - seven is considered a magic number in many cultures.

Water spirits are nature demons who, according to popular belief, live in lakes,
ponds, ponds, rivers and wells. They have different names in the individual
landscapes, just as the spread of legends about water spirits is not uniform. [...]
The most common name, however, is Wassermann (water sprite), somewhat less
common, but generally known, is the name "Nix", which is especially common in
its female form "Nixe". [...] In popular belief, the water sprites have a family and
their dwelling is set up under the water like that of the humans. Their daughters
go shopping with the people and take part in their pleasures, and they can only be
recognised by the fact that their dress has a wet hem.

From: Leander Petzold, Kleines Lexikon der Dämonen und Elementargeister, Munich 1990.

What if - the water spirits of the different cultures do not adhere to borders any more than the water molecules do, and are in contact with each other, visit each other, perhaps even cultivate friendships?

Clara Luise Bernhard spins this thought further in her works.

Hidden Mermaids walk through the cityand leave wet footprints. Photographs of water from Japan mix with sounds of water from Germany.
A young woman with blonde hair and a western look stands in a puddle at a Japanese market. The image of an amabie has been spray-painted on the closed roller shutter of a market stall.

Clara Luise Bernhard, born in 1998, has been interested in painting since she could hold a pencil and
has been fascinated by Japanese art since she was given a book about manga drawings when she was eight.

She was a guest student at Shokei High School in Kumamoto in 2015/16, has been studying
Fine Arts at Bauhaus University Weimar since 2017 and has been an exchange student at Sojo UniversityKumamoto from April 2022 until September 2023. 7 - SIEBEN - SEVEN - 七 was her final exhibition in Kumamoto before she returned to Germany to finish her studies.

Clara sees herself as a transducer between Germany and Japan - similar to a water molecule.

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