The Personal is Political
30 November - 4 January 2019
Maurice Nuiten, Neil Fortune, Alexandra Phillips
and Marjolein Witte
We proudly present our new group exhibition ‘The Personal Is Political’, opening 30 November at Josilda da Conceição Gallery. With Alexandra Phillips in the main space, in the next space we will show Neil Fortune's work and work by Maurice Nuiten and Marjolein Witte in the gallery’s project space. The exhibition will be on view until the 4th January.
1.050 KM/H In The Wrong Direction.
According to science, our happiness largely depends on seven neurotransmitters in our brain. These signalling agents, which make us feel good, are created in a variety of ways, for example during sex, whilst exercising or by eating chocolate. This knowledge forms an important starting point for the work of Maurice Nuiten. In his research “We Choose To Go To The Moon” where he is looking for a definition of happiness, he has no better means at his disposal than his own body, in his view. In the performances, photos, films, installations and text that he makes, are a visual translation of his desire for happiness. For Nuiten, happiness is closely linked to intimacy and vulnerability. His naked body, often manoeuvred into surrealistic poses, is exposed to the viewers’ subjective gaze.
“In order to understand, I destroyed myself.” ― Fernando Pessoa.
In 1.050 KM/H In The Wrong Direction we see opportunities to temporarily escape from our everyday reality, referring to the party scene, love and lust. On the other hand he shows a different side to this. Works that are an ironic interpretation of a ‘pity party’: a moment of self-pity, as the last guest at a party gets lost in an exhausting lament about life. With this works, Nuiten shows that difficult moments, when happiness is hard to find, are sometimes worth showing the most.
For the upcoming group exhibition at Josilda da Conceicao Gallery, The Personal is Political. Neil Fortune will show among other works a series of drawing created by way of performances; Traces of a Conversation shows a state of conscious and unconscious mark making. That deals with the notion of present, past and future. For this project Fortune occasionally invites different people into his studio or he travels to their location. He then setup a space to initiate a conversation. The structures of these performances are composed as loosely flow of ideals exchange between him and another person. These Performances resulted in a collaboration of marks on the surface of a cloth. The subject for these performances ranges from personal to privet, social to political and so forth. To start out he prepares a blank cloth on the floor. Which includes different types of sharpies and paint as a recorder of the performances. At the end of each sessions Fortune continue by sewing the cloth to create a series of repetitive line and curve upon the cloth. This project is in a primal stage, the works that are shown is a result of that first stage. To continuing these performances Fortune wishes to record in a variable manner the spaces and structure of reading these drawing, and our experiences of them.
Marjolein Witte [Eindhoven, 1979]
Is a Dutch visual artist living and working in Utrecht. She studied Fine Art at the HKU University of the Arts and graduated in 2002. Witte builds, paints, draws and photographs physical and imaginary boundaries, constructions and manipulations. Hereby she explores fundamental human needs such as safety, belonging or mattering and their physical manifestations and possible tensions that arise in relation to the environment. Territorial behaviour and the relationship between people and nature are recurring themes in her work.
Distinguishing The Signal From The Noise
The gallery as a protest room: the objects in this arrangement occupy the space as protesters. They have names like 'Disobedience', 'Pure Silence' and 'This Is My Resisting Bitchface'. In Distinguishing The Signal From The Noise, Witte moves through the multitude of needs, wishes and opinions within contemporary society. It is not only a search for a political point of view, but also for the role of the artist with regard to social issues. An ambivalent journey between good and bad, for or against, taking action or letting go and all the grey areas of possibilities there between those extremes.
When I arrived I admired the cobblestone. The craft continues to be striking, alternating stones instead of painting them. Each stone so unique, placed by hand with such care. A few days later I was moving some things with a wobbling cart. My romance with the cobblestones had a momentary lapse and I dreamed of the paved roads, even Broadway with the train above would do. If you visit Arizona, go to the Hope Indian Territory and cattle land just outside of Flagstaff. This land is the shrub-steppe, its dry, the plants grow close to the ground and the land is formed into a series of plateaus. It has the shortest growing season in all of the US and is some of the roughest country in the great states. You will undoubtedly marvel at the clarity of the air, and you will notice your far extending line of sight. There is no atmospheric perspective, things appear sharp and in contrast far into the distance. You will be so engulfed in the wonders of the natural world, of its beauty of its grandiosity, truly sublime. You might wonder how can it be that we made so much stuff atop such splendour? While standing on that plateau you might curse your rubber shoes, your synthetic backpack, your incessant cell phone and the itchy tag in your T-shirt. Maybe you’ll think how we ruined such purity with power lines stretching all the way to Phoenix and with highways perpetually clogged snaking the landscape. Perhaps you’ll feel a sort of nostalgic melancholy because you know just over that rocky hill there is a SHELL gas station with a McDonalds attached.
In school they taught the sweetly redacted version of the history of the American West: that families came, following “the lone trappers”, in search of a better life. The new people traveled the harsh land via wagon long before the arrival of the gas station on the edge of Flagstaff. They made way across the beautiful landscape, not knowing the implications of such clear skies and such irregular plateau landmasses. If you stand atop a high plateau today and you will see far, far into the distance and you will find it magnificent and maybe even moving. Those early invaders saw the same and this clear view would come to be their demise. Unable to detect the valleys between the raised flatlands and inexperienced with such a vast line of sight they assumed the next suitable place to stop was only a few miles away when in fact it was days away. Many of these covered wagons never made it to the next plateau. The people died in the valley, I think subconsciously wishing there was a Shell Station with a McDonald’s attached just beyond the rocky hill.
We love our unnatural world, our inventions our conveniences. We need them. We marvel at the absolute power of the natural world and these days we do it with complete caution and never without at least the knowledge of the closest Shell Station with the McDonald’s attached. We have learned our lesson time and time again.
I look for instances where the two processes meet. When our invented world crosses with the bigger system to which we belong but so often try to own. When a thing goes from domestic to feral, from the safety and privacy of our own homes to the unpredictable public city street.
When it transitions from cutting edge to dated, from required to extra, from the focus of all attention to being completely overlooked. When some material or object has been completely used up, worn out, disregarded, tossed aside by us and then becomes subject to everything else. These items, the evidence of our production, seem to cry out to Mother Nature, exclaiming that we have hacked the system and made our own little process of life and death!
I like the side effects. I am attracted to the things we need, that we must have but then once attained, almost immediately become a burden, and so starts the task of getting rid of them.
I find this compulsion of human beings strange but not unnatural. I think our constant activity of filling up the place and then cleaning it up again and again kowtows to the natural world. Showing reverence while also admitting our short comings, announcing loudly that we would have most certainly died in the valley but instead we can stop at the Shell with the McDonald’s attached and eat fries while marvelling at the clear view from the top of the plateau.
Is it damage or is it character?
The Grand Canyon
The craters in the moon
The bullet holes on the side of union station in Kansas City
The corner of Victor Horta’s home, the wood is rotten away
The holes in my shoes
The chip in your tooth
The open space on the top of the Pantheon The dent in the black stone of Mecca
The dips in heavily used subway benches The rip in your favourite sheets