Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė at FUTURA, Prague

Artists: Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė

Title: Sunk into it, part of it / it would be like hearing the grass grow, and we should die of that roar which is the other side of silence
Curator: Caroline Krzyszton
Venue: FUTURA, Prague

25.9.19 — 17.11.19

In their large scale solo presentation at FUTURA, Gawęda and Kulbokaitė, founding members of Young Girl Reading Group, explore artistic production through collaboration, decay and search for aberrant, media that lend themselves to creating speculative environments. Sunk into it. Part of it (…) comprises of video, light, putrefying installation, sculpture and scent all contributing to a fragmented narrative for audience to navigate through.

An olfactive trigger for this narrative is RYXPER1126AE — fragrance conceived after their YGRG159 : SULK (2018) performance at the 6th Athens Biennial. Gawęda and Kulbokaitė created RYXPER1126AE in collaboration with International Flavors and Fragrances Inc. in New York. Working together with a chemist and smell designer the artists made a fragrance sample based on the synthetic molecular replica of the smell collected with the use of headspace technology during the aforementioned performance. The smell bears a poetic sign or memory of belonging to a collective experience, sentiment to a shared moment, but can be also understood as its molecular imprint or documentation. At FUTURA the scent is held and released by a series of new sculptural pieces holding a performative possibility within. Here the duo employ olfaction as an interface, which creates a volatile passage between the virtual dimension and the physical body. The artists see smell as a performative play on the molecular level that highlights the breaking boundaries between us, the other and nature, flowing through and across humans and machines, life-forms and non-life-forms. Thinking through Foucauldian biopolitics and pharmacopornographic regime (P. B. Preciado), the artists suggest that we can no longer understand bodies as finite unities but instead fluid, porous cartographies or else distributed networks of corporate agency (M. Mendes).

The singular topology of the FUTURA exhibition space which plays host to this fragmented narrative underlying that the boundaries between public and private, internal and external, self and environment are increasingly permeable.

If one is to describe the inner landscapes it is always in terms such as this: monkey-brown, fish-grey, a string of infected circles above unwholesome ground, perhaps the skin of a grave. The limits of language are the limits of the world, so there is a naturally occurring adjustment to the ensconced personality in exchange for this view, including a certain amount of unusualities in perspective. But the sun of the mind rises a ribbon at a time too. 

Mine usually springs from a short elliptical colonnade and a large charis paddock populated by spiked grass Salsabiils beneath a sign marked 791 in something like Persian script leading the way in. Further along winding paths a Columbarium marks a squalid catalog of mistakes, my library of poor choices and slights constrained in lead boxes to better restrain their odious contents. On their internment they became discoloured, first turning green, then purple, before black as parts bulge from sockets. Other wretched parts bloat, protrude and finally swell each form burst open with foul-smelling gases. It was best not to touch these. Further on, things which could not be buried or burned – such as ideas or hopes dashed short – are put into charnel ground and left out for amorphous blends of jackals and hyenas, tigerbears, vultures and ravens. A land of total openness and freedom. Festoons of wet intestines hang low from the trees here, above beds of viper plants littered with the shards and nubs of femurs, patellas, tusks. 

Mals blow through hrátsis like weather. Sometimes they cluster and became a thick black bonerinse of a mist. The worst is when they take the faces most beloved to hráči beyond the Dyad. Mothers and fathers, women once loved and children unborn but not forgotten. All can appear suddenly and tear you up enough to be spat back through the colonnade.

extract from RYXPER1126AE by Ella Plevin

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