Maybe it's about bodies?

Tatjana Danneberg
Vanesa Gingold
Naomi Hawksley
Brook Hsu
Lotus L. Kang
Benoît Gilles Michel
January 19 - February 24, 2024

Opening reception: January 19th, 2024, 6-9pm

Co-organized with Et al
2831a Mission St, San Francisco, CA

This is just me, or it isn’t, whether it is or isn’t relatable/general isn’t the point, I’m not trying to share this feeling as much as I’m trying to share my feeling, if that makes any sense: every now and then I find myself mystified by the wide array of materials that make up a human body. Tooth, skin, lung, bone, and brain, all produced in situ; blood and bile and spit and sweat and shit and piss produced and distributed and/or discarded. A pause to look down at my wrist where the hair is mostly on the top half, and even there it is distributed unequally, with darker/thicker hair towards the inside (body-side, palms facing backwards) — those hairs know where to be, of what sort to be, how long to grow, how much melanin to carry.

These kinds of meta details emerging from simple genetics rub me the wrong way, sometimes. My disbelief, a pejorative version of my sense of wonder, risks invoking the same shaky pseudo-science used to argue against evolution. The eye, or a microbe’s flagellum, so their dubious logic goes, is so complicated — requiring so many simultaneous innovations — that survival-of-the-fittest, mutation-based ‘evolutionary’ progress couldn’t possibly result in such a delicate, intricate machinery. Except of course it can, it did, it does; and the aforementioned strangenesses of the body’s array of disparate, precisely placed materials/constructions is no less explainable. Yet, this doesn’t dispel the sense of the miraculous I feel when I think of my body, any-body.

The material stuff of an artwork is similarly miraculous. In it, the tremendous potency of DNA is replaced with the stubborn mystery of culture: an artwork’s material collects into a whole in relation to the entire history of art as a human exploit in concert with the particular project of a given artist. And what is around, the status of currently available materials within our lived world, both those manufactured specifically for art making and the everyday and the obscure this and thats an artist has at hand or specifically seeks out, are arranged into the-work.

Maybe these works share a particular sort of physicality, tying materials as-they-are with ones transformed. Hybrid creature, the artwork is given life through a combination of declaration and craft. And then multiple art-bodies are collated into an exhibition, a world.

-Aaron Harbour

Image (R): Lotus L. Kang, Root, 2020-2021, cast aluminum, 14 5/6 x 15 3/4 x 17 in (37.7 x 40 x 43.2 cm), courtesy of the artist