Yesn’t II


Installation, painting, photography, mixed media

Yesn’t II

Past: December 2, 2020 → January 30, 2021

When we talk about the abolition of binarism, we’re mostly talking about gender. But it has also been shown and discussed that non-binarism — in theory and in action — has implications far beyond these considerations: ontological, economic, logical and linguistic, amongst others. Some questions that would take us back / forward are (1) What does belief look like in a non-binary world? Since it might no longer be about adhering to an ideology, one could believe in a lot of things. Atheism could no longer be a negative (“non” -believer) but an openness to a multitude of faiths (2) What would sexuality look like if we were no longer identified and categorized according to gender? (3) Are debt and overdraft made obsolete in a universe where value itself is non-binary, where the + and the — are abolished? (4) But also, what does birth and death look like if we live non-binary existences?

On the website the definition of YESN’T that can be found reads as follow: “Yesn’t is a negative used to express dissent or an unwillingness to do something. It is another (or better) way of saying “no”.” Maybe this definition should be complicated: it is in fact a no camouflaged as a yes. A refusal that masquerades as affirmation. In the development of a non-binary vocabulary, «yesn’t» would have a special place. In the very forms they employ, the artists presented in YESN’T both practice what is called a politics of refusal, while paradoxically being here.

The text that Paul Maheke (“The Year I Stopped Making Art”) published in March 2020 on the platform shows a fatigue of an (art)world that feeds off artists’ precariousness and the vampirization of what they can represent. However it also testifies to a desire and an energy to want to continue (by asking the questions: who to address? Who to work for? ). We must then ask ourselves two questions when approaching the works that make up YESN’T: what is offered to us? what is refused? Not only in terms of representations but also politically (the two being linked, always). One could ask, in the context of a collective exhibition presented at a commercial gallery: what is the part of democratic invention? What kind of power structure are in place? But also which forms of domination are disintegrated? Between Patrick Staff’s chimes that only sing one note and Absalon’s prototype toilet brushes (and what is in between), a collection emerges which, while engaging, is nonetheless disturbing. The images rumble. In one of them you can read, blurred: “4000 Daesh killed by UK Air Strikes but ‘Just 1 Civilian’”. Right next to it, butterflies.

Cedric Fauq

Sultana Gallery Gallery
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