There was so much to walk away from, that still came along
Kinke Kooi, Anna McCarthy, Monique Mouton
VARIOUS OTHERS 2023
For this year’s edition of VARIOUS OTHERS, Sperling is collaborating with Lucas Hirsch, Düsseldorf, and VEDA, Florence, to bring together three innovative female artists whose practices transcend their foundation in drawing. Thinking with natural processes such as overgrowing, transmutation, or decay, Anna McCarthy and Kinke Kooi play with culturally applicated gender connotations: oysters and pearls, the soft and the pink. Kinke Kooi’s paintings are inhabited by pearls, mirroring oysters and mollusks in Anna McCarthy’s art. The idea of hospitality, bringing strangers into one’s home, takes on a metaphorically morbid tone of resistance given the fact that the intruder to the home of the oyster gets captured and transformed. In a statement, Kinke Kooi expands on the topic of hospitality and stresses the importance of interrupting homogenous worlds: “For me, in a strange way, decoration has to do with making connections. That’s why I fill in spaces in between: to dissolve opposition. To be overwhelmed by nature is to dissolve into a bigger whole […] Inviting strangers into your house can create complications. It is the same with ideas: to be open to new information also creates complications. I have always been suspicious of purity. Purity discriminates. Purity is about exclusion rather than inclusion. When one is open to guests and new ideas, it interrupts one’s autonomy. I like that thought […] I think femininity still deserves and needs to be visualized from more perspectives. I would like to fill in these gaps in our visual information.” Resistance as an act can take many forms. Subversively, it can be found in all of the exhibition’s artistic approaches. Working with paper, Monique Mouton creates sculptures in the form of custom-made frames, in which paper is only superficially her main medium. The preparation, fixation, and processing of the paper in the form of cutting, dispersing fluids, and paints are equally important: “My material parameters work as a scaffolding for exploring how a painting might hover between discreetness and porosity.” Monique Mouton doesn’t take the medium paper verbatim, the reverberations of the whole rather “exist within the boundaries of a given work then ping outwards between paintings, architectural surroundings, in the eye, etc. and back again. Washes of color absorb into the paper or wood panels and the surface is just another edge.” Seemingly inobtrusive, the art of Kinke Kooi, Monique Mouton, and Anna McCarthy take on an afterlife by slowly revealing their inner workings with a modus of oblique resistance at its core. To bring together these diverse positions in their autonomy yet also in unison leaves room for new understandings and receptions.