Bossy’s Gallery is pleased to present Bitch Biscuit, a two-person exhibition by Victoria Todorov & Spencer Lai. The exhibition features independent and collaborative works from both artists, incorporating a wide variety of mediums, including ‘diamond’ paintings, sculptural assemblages and an installation. This is the first collaborative exhibition between the artists.
Globalised production, bimbofication, cultural ostracism, forced and/or hyper-feminization are some topics, images, and feelings which guide, yet do not thoroughly define the thematic feeling, or output, of the exhibition. At a glance, a series of reference points here that we might consider: Isa Genzken, minimalism, post-minimalism, Neoliberalism, The Queer Agenda, the mythic figure of the millennial scammer. Intricate systems are at play here, across content and forms present in the space: from the grid system of the diamond paintings to the careful formal compositions in Lai’s Perspex arrangements. Cultural detritus, categorised and homogenized. Mediated icons, both stock and trademarked cartoon characters, symbols and gestalts present themselves: flattened, silhouetted, emptied.
The three ‘diamond paintings’ in the exhibition form the first collaborative works with the artists. These works were designed by both artists, with Lai implementing the labour. The creation of these ‘diamond paintings’ involves an intensive laborious process of attaching resin ‘diamonds’ to a colour coded adhesive surface, which is prepared by a factory. Taking cues from cross stitch and paint-by-number kits, diamond painting emerged as a popular craft pastime in the early stages of the pandemic in 2020.
The diamond paintings depict a disparate range of sources: New York socialite-cum-scammer Anna Delvey in court during trial; a hypermuscularised Velma, imprisoned in the implied digital non-space between the logo of mass fast fashion conglomerate boohoo and the LGBT rainbow flag; a ‘Chinglish’ re-interpretation of Junya Watanabe’s iconic S/S 2002 ‘poem’ collection floats upon the surface of Andy Warhol’s Electric Chair (1964). Through extensive labour, these digitised cultural artefacts are transformed into alluring pixelated mosaics, a sort of atomised hard candy.
In the hallway, Lai’s lamp-like assemblage works provide an almost meditative relief to the pop elements within the exhibition. Illuminating the hallway are two wall sculptures/lamps; a pink glow emanates from untitled (2021), a hollow rectangular form in balsa wood (think Judd, LeWitt, Andre etc). The purity of minimal form here is sullied by the frivolousness of the objects and craft processes the work bears as host: hot pink ostrich feathers, beads, gold leaf and torn newspaper. Adjacent sits foreign object (2021), a work which hosts various found objects within a series constructed compartments: antique Chinese puppets, feathers, beads, PVC tubing and an antique Red Cross invalid feeder, a vessel specifically designed for nurses to feed the injured during WWI & WWII. The continuation of idiosyncratic systems can be seen in these hallway works – while they share some similar characteristics to the works inside the gallery, their provisional quality and domestic scale is notably different, verging into the terrain of schematic models or sinister devices of unknown utility.
This play on minimalist forms continues inside the gallery with accessory (2020), a work which, at a distance, appears to be a black monochromatic painting, but on closer inspection, is an image built from layers of felt. The image depicts the horrific scene of a woman surrounded by bystanders as she is carried to be tortured, or humiliated, in a wooden stock device. This source image is lifted from a Tumblr account dedicated to fetished forced feminization. Superfluous items like stars, four-leaf clovers, and teddy bears are scattered across the scene– playing on the ideas of being an ‘accessory’ to a crime, or perhaps the casual indifference of images as pacified bystanders.
Sitting upon Lai’s patched work plinth [untitled (plinth) (2021)], Todorov’s Bunny Brat Model Bust 001., manufactured in Shenzhen city, Guangdong Province. The title of the work is partly attributed to the origin of manufacture, Shenzhen, the coastal Chinese city well known for shopping and retail industries. Her stoic presence provides an anchor to the haptic exhibition space. Silent and poised, her features are wildly exaggerated: her voluminous hot pink pout, her matte bunny ears… Behind her shades, she possesses a knowing watchfulness, a sort of determined fluoride stare. She seems transfixed, her gaze holding space in which nothing lies, a sense of meditative bliss in the midst of florid cultural psychosis of the incessant influx of information and images: speaking of waste, of production, of complication, of implied continuity, ceaseless becoming and endless resources in a world of limitless possibilities.