Rest on Your Belly in the Mud
Rest On Your Belly In The Mud is my first show at Laura Bartlett Gallery, the 20th show I have ever done and my first show this year. Thinking about it now, 2 days before it will open, it seems to be yet another attempt at finalizing a trilogy that started with a show I did a year ago entitled The Demon of Noontide. I realize that trilogies bear with them an aura of sovereignty. That it implies a certain overview. That is not what I am talking about. If anything this is a trilogy that has stumbled into existence. Anyway, The Demon of Noontide talked about boredom in its most cultivated state, as Ennui or Langeweile. Of a detached and motionless state. The second show had the impossible title Fast Flickering Black Bugs on a Bright White Background. This show dealt with the endeavour to start over while at the same time attempting (and failing) to do precisely that. So one could say that it acted out something while simultaneously declaring this very act impossible. To begin as if to begin. Now you are in Rest On Your Belly In The Mud. The show which could be the conclusion to this trilogy. In this show I try to present the things as they are. Floating freely. Dumb stuff. Random lots. Things that come together by their weight, their mass, their materiality or mere location. Let’s say: If Rest is weight, Belly could be volume and Mud materiality.
The seemingly random and disparate objects you see tied together on the floor are parts of The Norman Mailer Paradox II (all works 2011). They are chosen and paired up according to one object’s ability to float vs. the other object’s weight. They are lying there, inanimate on the floor, awaiting a flood. The paintings that are hung throughout the gallery all bear the same title. The Catch. Both the title with its double entendre and the process of making them – net thrown into thick wet paint only to be caught itself – plays with full frontal didactics. The video at the entrance to the gallery, The Drift, is obviously mimicking a format known to us from public service art history programs, or perhaps its younger and impromptu relative that we know from YouTube. It contains a lot of information that you have very little chance of decoding, but which I will give away right here: the imagery pictures a grotto in the Boboli Garden in Florence. It is made in the style which art historians refer to as Mannerist and it depicts the moment after the flood in Ovid’s Metamorphosis. The soundtrack consists of very slow versions of Irving Berlin’s Alexander’s Ragtime Band and Archibald Joyce’s Songe d’Automne, played on crystal glasses filled with water. Lastly, the voiceover lists the objects which had been posted for sale on the “General” category of Craigslist on the day I finished the film.
So back to the beginning. To the bold trilogy claim. Let me try and make that grand final statement: Rest On Your Belly In The Mud acknowledges history, ponders aesthetic decision making and ridicules grammar, but unlike the two shows mentioned above, it is neither disillusioned nor apathetic. I think it sets out to get rid of hierarchy. It speaks about sameness. About parallel-ness.
Maybe it isn’t the end to the trilogy after all. Maybe this is my Satyr Play.
Simon Dybbroe Møller