Caroline Achaintre at c-o-m-p-o-s-i-t-e

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Artist: Caroline Achaintre

Exhibition title: boo

Venue: c-o-m-p-o-s-i-t-e, Brussels, Belgium

Date:  April 21 – May 28, 2016

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and c-o-m-p-o-s-i-t-e

Over the course of the past years, a wide range of references has been ascribed to Caroline Achaintre’s work as sources, influences or resonances: the ‘exotic’, shamanism, medieval European carnival, Primitivism, German Expressionism, Constructivist design, fashion, Pop, heavy metal imagery, …. Indeed, one could say that she straddles Great historical Breaks and Big cultural Divides by playfully drawing together all kinds of allusions in her textile and ceramic works. One transversal energy that could be traced throughout this diverse genealogy — whether authentic, adopted, suppressed or pastiched — would be that of magic. With boo, too, Achaintre moves into the orbit of magical systems and the animist forces they exert.

Pebbles, Phoon, Whalf, and Wormholt. Bayou, Nubber, Circa, Gaper. Palm C, Croque, and Mr. Ezaki.

Be they flat, straight, curved, or creased, the interplay of shapes makes her pieces waver between representational levels — more than abstract, less than figurative. The superposition of motifs and relief on the surfaces transmutes texture into all kinds of skins, envelopes and fabrics: leaf-like, scallop and grid-like, ribbed or scaled, rubbery or leathery. With their shiny glaze, and often appearing still malleable, it is as if looking at living matter. A metamorphing of plants, animals, objects, and humans. Mask-like creatures, ‘things’ that leave undecided the direction of their transformation. An ambiguous play on in/animate matter, entities, and forces. Utter multinatural equivocalness.

Un/defining traits make face-like features appear — enough to sense, too little to recognize. Sweeps and blurs of colour, holes, curves or creases become eyes, sometimes mouths, and occasionally a nose. The gazes ‘they’ cast solicit. Whom they are trying to engage remains unclear. Do they try to do so with ‘us’? With each other? Or with absent presences which we are actively othering? Whatever the case, they can act as vacillating figures between here and some elsewhere, or here and a here-too.

Profane space has been framed by an ancient snake for hybrid gathering. Protoscientific and inanimist powers are put on a par, whilst accounting for their mutual involvement. Pebbles, Phoon, Whalf, and Wormholt. Bayou, Nubber, Circa, Gaper. Palm C, Croque, and Mr. Ezaki. Names that have been drawn from distant, yet nearby semantic regimes. There where familiarity brushes against unfathomable meaning. Through repetition their sounds move into incantation. Upon acceptance comes a joint calling for the effects of whatever is aspired by those attending.

Indeterminacy always persists. Availability is what can make you feel.

Pebbles, Phoon, Whalf, and Wormholt. Bayou, Nubber, Circa, Gaper. Palm C, Croque, and Mr. Ezaki. Pebbles, Phoon, Whalf, and Wormholt. Bayou, Nubber, Circa, Gaper. Palm C, Croque, and Mr. Ezaki. Pebbles, Phoon, Whalf, and Wormholt. Bayou, Nubber, Circa, Gaper. Palm C, Croque, and Mr. Ezaki.

Caroline Achaintre (UK, 1969). Recent solo exhibitions include those at Tate Britain, London and Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2014- 15) and her ceramic and textile works are currently part of the touring British Art Show 8 (until 2017). Her forthcoming solo exhibition at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead opens this summer. She lives and works in London.

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Caroline Achaintre, Karl, 2016

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Caroline Achaintre, Karl, 2016

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Caroline Achaintre, F.Ritz, 2016

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Caroline Achaintre, F.Ritz, 2016

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Caroline Achaintre, Gaper, 2015

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Caroline Achaintre, Pebbles, 2015

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Caroline Achaintre, J. Merrick, 2016

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Caroline Achaintre, J. Merrick, 2016

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Caroline Achaintre, Phoon, 2015

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