Benjamin Lignel — Guest : Kiko Gianocca — How do you like me now?
Benjamin Lignel — Guest : Kiko Gianocca
How do you like me now?
Past: February 1 → April 20, 2013
How do you like me now? prolongs previous research on the way our perception of the body has changed, as new practices in medicine, body adornment and corporeal aesthetics influence, and sometimes contradict, more traditional views of the body, and the way we interact with it.
I am curious, in particular, about the sometimes paradoxical outcome of body modification: while plastic surgery (and its injected alternatives) presupposes an ideal body type and strives to emulate it, it in fact establishes a completely new aesthetic genre. This effect is never as strong as when it somehow misses the “natural effect” (a contradiction in terms, some would say) and hits upon a super-natural effect: forms that are both excessive and idiosyncratic, common and strange.
Likewise, the self-conscious bodily add-ons presented here are less concerned with beauty than beautification, in all its silly, wishful, and heroic forms: they intend to provide you, the augmented wearer, with a means to shine in society, and connect with your inner royal eagle (batteries not included).
The transformation alluded to by the exhibition’s title also points to the various mediation strategies used by contemporary practitioners — such as me — to disengage jewellery from a value system traditionally indexed on weight, skill or — God forbid — beauty. Like the body modifications mentioned above, these easily recognizable artistic protocoles (installation, photography; the book, the caption) meant to give this ‘old craft’ a face lift threaten to transform it beyond recognition. This, and the ensuing damage done to my reputation as an honest jeweller, is the subject of this show.
Guest: Kiko Gianocca
Kiko Gianocca’s recent series of work — With other eyes, to Hold, Who am I — hope to tease out our emotional investment with objects that offer minuscule emotional purchase — anonymous pictures, truncated second-hand tools, diminutive short-hand faces.
The objects’ tenuous link to me paradoxically works in their favour: unclaimed and suspended in temporal drift, but clearly meant to be held and adopted, they are objects in waiting. This is all the more effective as it is insidious: as I pause before the brooch / pendant / ring, moments away from taking hold of it, my body has already accepted what my mind refuses to acknowledge: I have just reclaimed these incomplete stories for my own.
Gianocca’s work illustrates the elasticity of what we choose to document identity. Something other than real evidence presides over (self-) representation: a decision, maybe, but certainly not a DNA test. Which brings to mind Robert Rauschenberg’s iconoclastic telegram, sent in 1961 to his gallerist, which read: “This is a portrait of Iris Clert if I say so”.
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