Jaana Laakkonen at Treignac Projet, France, 2016
SHARING A ROOM, A WATER BOTTLE AND WHO KNOWS WHAT!
Black tarp on a grey embossed floor. Greenish-yellowish, a slightly see-through tarp in front of a cinder block wall painted white. Located on the right side. On the left, black tarp with green and lilac spray paint. Dried ink in ceramic cup, one brush in the dried paint. Big table next to wall that stands opposite to white wall. Materials like paper and sculptures made of resin stored under the table. Brushes, not mine, stand in pots in a vertical position, brush side up. Some of these things are remnants of previous practices done in the workspace located at the south end of Treignac Projet. Some are the results of the rearrangements done to prepare this space to meet my practice. And the inks, acrylic medium and polyester fabrics which did not know yet that, via many hands, cardboard boxes and barcode beeps they would end up, for the time being, in the same room with me, tens of long legged spiders, half used paint cans that travelled with pearly shades, Galgo Español and Meeting the Universe Halfway from Stuurmankade to Hooftskade and via Orléans to Limousin. Pearlescent paints still stinking of the tobacco smoke that they have had a thick relationship with in the art-supplies store - according to my nose - since before December 2015. Apparently that smoke did not hesitate to enter the plastic pots that were supposed to ward off some of the paint's relations with nearby matters.
A bunch of drawings are drawn on the floor of the room where my nightly sleep happened until the 13th of August and from 29th onwards. By walking down stairs, across a yellow concrete floor, through two doorways, circa six steps outdoors, through one exhibition space, across a workshop, I could in fifteen seconds reach the place where I was going to sit, stain my clothes, crawl under diagonally angled fabrics, seek measuring tape, crash my toe, step on a 10mm staple, drink Earl Grey and water, pour water in the plastic packages that were previously filled with tabbouleh. Dog food was delivered first and, after honking the horn two more times, I had everything I ordered, excluding three inks that were after all out of stock and so joined my summer 2016 artistic practice by being absent. Unimaginable amount of knots tangled and mattering-mattered before any plastic was attached to another sort of plastic in my studio.
Because of the knotty nature of things, this exhibition is a material-discursive doing, tangling my past and future practice, where I am examining what it could mean for an artistic practice to take the knottiness seriously and give up arranging the ways of thinking and doing according to binaries. One of my tactics for rearranging the normalized relations within painting practices has been to try to happily welcome other agents (nonhuman and human) to take part in "my" artistic practice. Making changes in the working apparatus and my position within it, with the chosen materials and working conditions, has been my 'another' strategy to differentiate the fixed subject/object tale. Painting and practices related to it cannot stay caught inside the square shaped canvas or exhibiting space, for they are doings that touch and operate in other things, or rather, phenomena. Hands are not dirty just because of the irritatingly sticky oil paste or glue-like attaching acrylic - if not knowledge production, at least painting practices are being-, doing-, relation-, position- and story-production practices and that is why it matters how the apparatus is arranged.
I keep asking: Who are allowed or forced to do things with me and when or how much? Who has a name and whom do I even recognize? What are we doing and where are we working? Who are doing me and what am I doing to and within them and again who are they? Or do I even want or need to know? (Ok. I won't even go to that knowing...) How to be with them well or at least in a better manner? If I do not want that narrow, clear story, how should I communicate, do, exhibit... responsibly? How to be with works and exhibitions, and could they push to confront the conflict between binaries and reality?