Dutch artist Milena Naef, based in Amsterdam, comes from a lineage of stone sculptors stretching back four generations. Immersed in the world of art, particularly sculpture, she employs marble as her primary medium — but not in the conventional sense.
Naef investigates her own identity through her work, probing structures intrinsic to her identity. She seeks to bridge the gap between cognition and physicality, confronting the supposed dualism of body and mind. Her work serves as a tangible manifestation of her personal experiences and the presence — or sometimes the absence — of the human body is an integral part of her artistic narrative.
Building on this artistic foundation, Milena Naef initiated a series called Fleeting Parts. This series was born from another work, Weight of Four Generations. Here, Naef took a massive marble block and drilled a hole precisely the size of her leg. This art piece speaks volumes about her engagement with her family’s history.
As Naef allows the weight of the stone to integrate with her, she crafts a piece that is uniquely fitted to her body. Despite the constraints of the stone’s weight, she is in control, consciously adopting both its physical and psychological burdens.
In Fleeting Parts, Milena Naef goes beyond honoring her family’s sculptural legacy by incorporating a deeply personal performative element. Carved openings in large marble sheets create frames around parts of her body. This allows Naef to physically bear the weight of her work, literally merging with it. She skillfully uses these hollow spaces to accentuate her body’s nuances, treating herself as an artistic medium, thereby highlighting the strength, complexity, and vulnerability of human form.