Artist: Mat Do
Exhibition title: Care Bare
Curated by: Marloes de Vries
Venue: MAMA, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Date: March 4 – April 13, 2018
Photography: All photographs courtesy the artist and MAMA, Rotterdam
From “the food you love” delivered straight-to-the-door on the sweaty backs of underpaid couriers to our homes working a second job as boutique hostels for the whim-sical traveller; we exist in a perpetual state of readiness where we no longer stand – we “pop”. Care Bare is a spe-culative showroom that reflects upon the uncanny affini-ties found at the centre of these present-day phenomena.
With Care Bare, MAMA – in close collaboration with artist Mat Do and London hair salon DKUK – delves into these present-day phenomena that could be considered the contemporary addictions for which our society has an insatiable desire. The corporations that feed these addic-tions operate continuously and behind convenient faca-des, yet they pose a threat to our labour conditions, to the development of communities and to the ecology of our planet. All these platforms and concepts offer us nothing but an illusion of intimacy, authenticity and bespoke care.
Care Bare is a hybridized installation and a space of attention, taking the form of a speculative showroom. Like a snake biting its own tail, Care Bare contradicts its own reality by appropriating the vernacular of a hair salon
– expecting to receive rehearsed participation from its visitor-customer.
Visitor-customers can comfortably rest in loungers next to mannequins that are partially dressed in customised pieces taken from the artist’s own wardrobe. Whilst a stream of magazines confirm the existence of the space, monitors screen a triptych of reworked Hollywood films by Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven; thereby acting as mirrors and serving as allegories of the enhanced human. Care Bare escapes full cynical collapse through the devotion found in its contents; it is a place wherein every hand-studded rivet and laser cut piece of leather counts.
Mat Do’s work assembles encounters in contemporary visual culture that challenge personal experiences or situ-ations. In doing so, Mat uses these collisions to reveal and question the wider socio-political implications of consume-rism and popular culture, often in a well-crafted as well as humorous and associative manner. Mat appropriates pro-cesses of production in which he is neither educated nor skilled, thus amateurism and naïve arrogance are clear in the end result. These outcomes, ‘bait items’, are materiali-sed in objects, images and actions of which the respective mediums came into being through trends and tendencies.
DKUK is a hair salon and art space in Peckham, a neigh-bourhood in South-London that has undergone huge levels of gentrification in recent years. Beginning as a pop-up, DKUK is now a permanent salon in Holdrons Arcade: a shopping centre accommodating a mixture of old and new businesses – from coffee shops and record stores to fabric stockists and fresh fruit and vegetable stalls. When visi-ting DKUK, paying clients have their hair cut in front of art. Realised by artist / hairdresser Daniel Kelly, DKUK provides a platform for engaging diverse audiences with contem-porary art in the welcoming environment of a hairdressing salon. A new model for producing work, DKUK combines the practical, commercial framework of a hairdressing busi-ness with the funding support of the Arts Council England.
MAMA is a platform for visual culture and young talent, and a gateway for young makers at the interface of con-temporary art and popular culture.
Care Bare is realised with the support of Stimulerings-fonds voor de Creatieve Industrie and sponsored by Bisley, Reclamekanjers and Verve.