Charlotte Dualé – Solo Presentation at FIAC Art Fair, Paris 2021
Some questions seem designed to hide cruelty. Like: ‘what is it for?’ This is the mantra, formulated as a question, of a religion of use value.
We made our idea of art — the dream of experience emancipated from function — as a response to this problem, as a way to escape the enclosure of life by the demand for functional returns. But in doing so, we also made new questions, with new double binds.
I see a whole bunch of ceramic objects, curiously shaped and coloured, and all small enough to hold in one or two hands. Often these objects combine a couple of flat planes, which are imperfectly architectonic and glazed in subdued colours — midnight blue, moss green, wet-concrete gray — with forms that recall shed skin, soggy leaves, worms, twigs, and shit. The latter are coloured more brightly, in glazes that are thick and thin, sometimes flat, sometimes bubbling and dripping. Many of the pieces have small holes. Put a nail or screw through them, and you’d be one step away from utility. Object becomes sculpture becomes shelf, becomes a part of the home, which means (especially in the dreamworld invoked by these strange objects…) part of you.
Let’s go out on an old limb, and say that all aesthetic energy is not only retinal and haptic but also social and psychological.
I love looking at Charlotte’s work because I love looking at Charlotte’s work. The pleasure doesn’t need a reason. But part of the pleasure lies in allowing the brain — with its own delight in semiotics, social tensions, and contexts — its place in the encounter. To a certain extent, thinking enriches sensuality. Only paranoid aesthete reactionaries think otherwise. Our job is to tend to that ‘certain extent’ — to counter the hegemony of absolutes, with complexity
The riddle of what place these objects hold on a spectrum that runs from use, on the one hand, to the pipe dream of unimpeded sensuality, on the other, shapes the work’s vibe.
So if I say: “These objects aren’t supposed to be used! Stop instrumentalizing experience!”, I’ll have a certain righteousness on my side. On the other hand, this righteousness would be compromised, it being the case that this position would itself align with the historical usage of pure aesthetic experience — high abstraction — as a marker of bourgeois superiority. Power lurks everywhere, even in enchantingly quirky artistic experiences. Power is poison. But it also produces form.
Charlotte’s objects hold these aesthetic-social conflicts in tension, so that they can be felt as much as thought. Their playfulness, their brilliant colours, their associations, are participants in this broader effect. When the messier and more organic forms seem to meld with or melt out of their quasi-architectonic supports, they invoke unseen life suddenly appearing in the inanimate architectural surround. That’s the stuff of dreams or nightmares. And also sometimes of the uncanny aspects of waking life. Like rain-mashed leaves spooning with forms in the pavement, or like the uncanniness of symmetry itself, in the form of two objects, interlocking along their mutually jagged edges.
Text by: Mitch Speed
Group Show, Manuel Gnam, Confinement, Zürich 2021
Interview with Manuel Gnam
At first, every landscape presents itself as immensely chaotic. Your maps question territorial realities and present a certain geographical ambiguity. Place descriptions suggest a connection between land and emotion.
Have you ever been to Lake Gullible?
I’ve seen it but honestly, it’s not worth going to. It’s situated somewhere between Comfort Beach and Identity Delta. I try to draw maps of how I think tech companies organize people: making profiles according to their preferences, their physical and emotional states, and their sociologies instead of more classical cartographic signifiers like country of origin. Old maps feel like ancient tribes to me, whereas these new ones are based on broader categories of how individuals identify. And because the tools of tech companies amplify the belief systems of the individual and target their prejudices, many people end up feeling more at home in online worlds that respond to them rather than the places where they live.
From a technology point of view, people are just target demo(geo)graphics. So, who do I want to show my content to?
People who are on the left, or dog owners, or vegetarians, or people who are, well, gullible?
Click here for full interview
Galerie Noah Klink presents a series of new paintings by Manuel Gnam (b. 1982).
This body of work deals with a popular aesthetic on the internet – namely of digitally rendered animals that have been employed to attract the attention of viewers on video platforms. Potentially authored by algorithmic agents, Gnam uses these machine-generated compositions to create psychedelic paintings that resemble a new liminal reality between the virtual and the actual.
Josefine Reisch works through representational mediums such as trompl‘oeil painting, portraiture and textile.
Her works are based on an omnipresent and accessible European cultural heritage. She examines historical contents to outline hierarchies particularly social conditioning and aspirational tendencies within contemporary inter- pretations of historiography. Reisch questions the value and validity of a popularized cultural heritage as she reassembles historical moments and figures into jumbled compositions, much like a musical medley.
Engaging in a feminist reading of historiography her work triggers new readings and uncertainty within this déjà-vu.