I was super looking forward to this show. I Luhuuurve Hannah’s work. I feel things about her writing, and it’s more than love, I think it’s kinship. I feel like if I was a million times cleverer, I’d be Hannah Black, because everytime I read something she’s writ I’m like “YAS” and I have a lil mental high five bc she’s killing it good (but I’m too stupid to be Hannah black, I am simply not worthy). Saying that, walking into the space; I understand it’s small, right. I understand. But I was kinda underwhelmed. I left feeling betrayed and empty but because I had betrayed my girl, Hannah (she doesn’t know she’s my girl, but she is). I had betrayed Hannah, because I didn’t like it. Me an Gab spoke to the gallery man who was watching the space, and he said to read the Art Forum article, so I did and man. HANNAH. Why is she doing this to me? As always, the writing was stunning, I am in awe of her mind utterly and truly helplessly in love. But why? Why should I have to go to Art Forum to understand the work? Why is there such a large delay between seeing and comprehending? I don’t like it. I don’t like that there was such a specific way of understanding the work, because even though after I read it, I understood and liked and came to know its sensitivities and intricacies: that’s not it for me. I understand that not all art has to be immediately understood. Or actually, ever understood. In fact, the whole idea of artwork and meaning is problematic, and tied up with neutrality and social capital and being a white straight male and I get it. Hannah, I’m here for you, but not cool man, not cool. Accessibilty is a huge deal breaker for me, I and I didn’t like that Art Forum, of all places, as a custodian of like art world insider knowledge, was where I had to go. Having said that, if you go, read the Art Forum piece first, pick up the gallery hand out and read that before you look. Her work is complex, beautifully so, but understanding is just another way to measure social capital which I truly truly believe is a way of excluding. I just wish she’d written that interview, that excerpt, on the wall of the gallery in Sharpie. I’d have loved her even more. I still love her, but I’d love her more.
<<<<< do Zarina’s first. she is reading the exhibition attachments (‘press release’ + art forum essay that the gallery assistant recommended) and I’m making a point not to. bc I get sad when a show is activated by its footnotes. i had that exhibition moment where it’s like, someone is speaking to me in a language i know 5% of. I’m getting odd words. I like your voice though, its volume, tone, but it’s just information without meaning and I wanna know what you’re telling me.
that language/////there are smiley faces scratched into tall brown painted boards. fleece blankies pushed against the wall by perspex squares. folded leather cuts on a shelf. In a corner at the back, a small screen loops a pretty standard video. standard because as a video gal I’m seeing the looped tone in art atm. that typical dunnnnnnn soundtrack that i am.done with. playing with transitions. deep-edit voices saying zzz lines like ‘this is the part where nothing happens,’ while transparent pngs of anatomical bodies zoom around the screen. It was flat for me :( and we had trecked so far…….and uh then we mulled on the tube home. zarina had safari’d the art forum text and was moaning her fave lines from the piece, pretending to stab herself, bent over, disheartened. because it’s like ‘ohhhhhh.’ if only the artist had been there to make her case for the pieces, how the blankets were from plane journeys and were cuts of our ‘individual discomfort.’ the boards were office dividers etched because ‘in Jared Sexton's 2008 book Amalgamation Schemes, he talks about race as a scratch, a line going astray.’ that is more interesting than the pieces tho!! It’s a tricky one. Some work by thinking first + then illustrating, while others spit work out and then ask where the fuck that came from. so IMO the work comes off a little contrived IF you read the excuses, and if you don’t, it’s just okay.