Group exhibition curated by Alistair Hicks at Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna
Marcel Dzama & Raymond Pettibon, Leylâ Gediz, Marcia Kure, Wangechi Mutu, Pavel Pepperstein, Raymond Pettibon, Viktor Pivovarov, Laure Prouvost, Paula Rego, Nedko Solakov, Hale Tenger
This exhibition takes place as part of curated by 5.9.— 3.10.2020
The gallery festival with international curators in Vienna. https://curatedby.at
Text by Alistair Hicks
All the artists in Hybridish are hybrid thinkers, who are offering alternatives to the rule of straight thinking. So what? Though we are all natural hybrid thinkers and capable of assembling a frightening array of contradictory thoughts in our heads at any one time, for years our teachers, lawyers and other rule makers including artists have been trying to make us think in one way, to delude us into thinking we were marching in one straight line of progress. The artists here are enjoying helping us out of our straitjackets.
Feminists are at the forefront of this exhibition, as the straight line was basically a male conceit if not delusion (think of Brancusi’s infinite column). When Paula Rego was at college her teachers did not stop her from drawing forbidden stories: as she was a young girl they did not take her seriously. She has been one of the pioneers in putting the twisted and convoluted story back in the mainstream of art. Wangechi Mutu and Marcia Kure refuse to put the Western male vision of identity central stage. They show how we are hybrids. The first sign work by Laure Prouvost that I saw back in 2006 read ‘You are going in the wrong direction’ and ever since she has been offering a labyrinth of mental path options. Hale Tenger puts a different perspective on male phallic-led thoughts and female dreams. Turkish Delight and Cinderalla’s glass shoe are just part of our rollercoaster makeup. I take comfort from Leyla Gediz’s Crab Trainer. It takes one of Turkey’s most famous satirical paintings, The Tortoise Trainer of Osman Hamdi Bey, and seems to be offering a little hope. Whereas the Tortoise Trainer was making fun of the slowness of Ottoman reforms, the situation is reversed with the Crab Trainer in that it is a young mind looking at all the different shapes in his playground. As long as his mind can go sideways, diagonally, curvaceously there are possibilities.
Nedko Solakov has devised a special language of Hybridish Hybriding for this exhibition. Solakov is the master of hybrid thinking. If anything is ever too straight, he checks it and checks it again. His work has the rare combination of a quick instant communication combined with the barbs that staying working on you. Pavel Pepperstein is similar but rather like one of Laure Prouvost’s signs which reads ‘Ideally this corner would embrace you’, his work operates by the power of its generosity. He is hugging you with his world. The fact that the viewer doesn’t necessarily understand it when she or he first looks acts as a trigger. It works on our hybrid nature. Pepperstein is the son of a Russian poet and Viktor Pivovarov, a key Moscow Conceptualist, one of the first art movements to embrace and fully exploit hybrid thinking.
Raymond Pettibon and Marcel Dzama both make highly individual drawings and films. They give us satirical anti-government, anti-war drawings. For this exhibition we are showing individual works by Pettibon set against those made with Dzama. Pettibon became famous with his surf riding, Baseball playing dream of American life, yet it was always underpinned by the angst underneath the surface. In Ball Player it is as if Dzama and Pettibon, are fighting for the Super Soul of America, and revealing the monster they and we have created. We have the worst of both worlds today: we are still governed by these rules of ‘straight-thinking’ without believing in them.