Based on solid theories of non-anthropocentric points of view, the artist concentrates her practice on the idea of how contemporaneity thinks about bodies and its relationship with the natural environment.
Conceptually powerful and aesthetically energetic, the sculptures, halfway between anthropomorphic figures and beings from another world, present themselves as flat bodies, constructed with fragments of different ideas and elements, closely associated to our contemporary relation with the digital world. We constantly face digital screens, a two dimensional world which we somehow convert into a three dimensional one. The flatness of those bodies is an important part of Kattou’s practice as it discusses the limits of sculpture and painting and how both of them connect.
Fascinated by the idea of how language is ever changing in a silent way due to social, economic and historical conditions, Kattou recognizes it as a ‘ruin’, and includes it in her practice through traces of internet-found fonts. Being practically unrecognizable and unreadable, even though written in a universal language as English, it serves as a recollection of what communication could have been and mostly, what it could become.
What we see on the aluminum surface of those figures is what is going on in their inner worlds, the psyche of those beings. All the information carried by them is about their skills, their characteristics, their origins. As the sculptures stand as inorganic pieces, the flowers in contrast bear a physical remembrance of something that probably is not around anymore, as a souvenir of the nature and how it could have been transformed along the way. The real flowers, gathered by the artist on Mediterranean locations, go through a technical process named eletroforming in which a copper layer is created, becoming a metallic epiderm for the organic matter. The procedure doesn’t always succeed to cover all the surface, nonetheless, the remaining anatomical fractions suggest that human control can never be truly fulfilled, as nature still has a bigger control.
The sculptures presented in the show, which are all processed with hand painted drawings of landscapes, animals, insects, symbols and language traces, suggest an idea of a non- human environment. These bodies could be seen as archaeological remembrances for a future generation to discover and could all the more represent a kind of communication which overcomes the already known humanistic norms.
Downhill from Here
Auto-fiction is a literary artifice in which fictional characters that represents the actual author of a work of fiction appears either overtly or in disguise, as an idealized figure within that narrative, either overtly or in disguise. The practice, usually read from a psychological perspective, is also hugely applied in visual arts, where artists include themselves in their narratives, as happens in figurative self-portraits until abstract interpretations of oneself.
‘Downhill from Here’, the first solo exhibition in Europe of the New-York based artist Trey Abdella, presents at T293 a new series of paintings where the most ordinary situations as cooking, ironing and gardening are portrayed from an overwhelming and personal point of view, a narrative which finds its strength on the banality of life itself.
The artist, drawing inspiration from 90’s classic movies as ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ and ‘Cool World’ creates a universe in which cartoons co-exist with real life figures. As well as the visual conception of the late American Surrealists, as the Chicago Imagists, which distanced themselves from the artistic vanguard to create a whole new imagery of their own, Abdella sources surrealism, comics aesthetics and personal experiences to then illustrate mental states, unconventional ideas and mostly, elaborated fictional worlds.
Establishing a peculiar combination between both worlds, the paintings emphasizes the overwhelming sense of mortality of our lives while depicting extra-friendly situations. The artist is mostly inspired by his own life-misadventures, looking at them from a personal perspective, inserting as a witness the depiction of his own hands, present in many works.
Abdella immerses himself on our contemporary culture, with its enormous imagery production and assembles references as wide as Baroque realism, passing through classic cartoon languages, until our digital culture. The acrylic paint is the base for all his paintings, but in some cases the artist inserts actual material elements, such as glue, glass and glitter, transforming the canvas into an almost tridimensional piece. Merging different painting languages and experimenting with materials and techniques, he creates a new visual speech which reflects of what today’s youth are experiencing: a massive visual and information attack, mostly through the omnipresent social media.
Abdella’s paintings are a never-ending discourse, a universe of references which evokes through the painting our contemporary surreality, in which the limits between real life and fiction are as close of disappearing than ever.
Courtesy of the artists and T293
Photo by Roberto Apa