Bona Dea – Lina Hermsdorf

Bona Dea

Lina Hermsdorf

Curated by Frederike Sperling

das weisse haus, Vienna

16.02 – 09.04 2022

With “Bona Dea”, das weisse haus presents Lina Hermsdorf’s first solo exhibition in Austria. The practice of the artist and choreographer manifests in performance, installation and film, and critically explores the changed perceptions of life in relation to technology.

“Bona Dea” (2022) constitutes the third episode of Lina Hermsdorf’s evolving audio-visual work. Taking centre-stage, the video is presented in a large-scale projection alongside the VR work “Untitled” (2019). In the piece, the artist engages with a sparsely documented sacred site situated in a forest in Umbria (Italy). This site was used by the cult of the Roman goddess ‘Bona Dea’ and was accessible to women only, men were completely excluded. The practices and rituals were yet still documented by male historians, therefore producing information based on their own speculations and projections, rather than the activities themselves. In search of emancipatory narratives, Lina Hermsdorf treats the forest as an autonomous body of knowledge, opening up geo-poetic perspectives on nature.

Drone videos, CGI footage and Google Earth materials showing the forest from different perspectives constitute the visual framework for the video installation. Fused with biographical details from the narrator, Paola Dionisotti (*1953), “Bona Dea” speaks of cyclical rhythms and reminds us of the inescapable laws of growth, decay and aging processes.

In her practice, Lina Hermsdorf questions anthropocentric views and refers to our complex relations with nature. Especially now, with the pandemic making us acutely aware of our fragility and interdependency, Lina Hermsdorf draws our attention to our relationship with the natural and to the diversity of possible narratives. The presentation of “Bona Dea” is extended on the online platform of das weisse haus, dwhX ( through the work “Untitled” (2019) by Lina Hermsdorf. “Untitled” (2019) draws you into the midst of the sacred forest in Umbria and envelops you with its boughs, leaves, sounds and root systems. Produced as part of Lina Hermsdorf’s multi-part audio-visual work “Bona Dea”, the VR experience expands the piece into a more sensual and intimate dimension, both grounding and disorientating the spectator.

“Untitled” (2019) can be experienced with a VR headset in Lina Hermsdorf’s solo exhibition at das weisse haus until April 9, 2022. Rendered as a video here, you can navigate yourself through the forest with your cursor or – if you have one – put on your own VR device at home. The exhibition at das weisse haus is part of the FOTO WIEN Festival 2022 and will be accompanied by a public program.

Frederike Sperling

Photography: Lea Sonderegger