Lecturer in: 2017
The work of Femmy Otten is framed not by some kind of frustrated desire or corrupted idealism, but by fractures and cuts that manifest themselves in a defiantly partitive aesthetic predicated on psychological or cultural splits often articulated by hybrid and discontinuous forms. Its signature language is uttered through a crisis of eventuation manifest in the genres and materials of Otten's work, but also in its psychological and abstract dispositions. Things might start out, for example, as sculptures, but are - incompletely - carried on using lines or pigments. Figures often emerge from somewhere behind the wall or surface on which they are articulated, and generally resolve only as corporeal part-objects - a disembodied head, arms, legs, body-on-body appurtenances. Or they are hybrids by nature, alluding to the rich history, consolidated in ancient Egyptian, Assyrian and Greek cultures, of composite human-animal (centaur, sphinx, harpy, angel and mermaid), non-human, animal-animal (griffin, chimera), or human-divine compounds-the latter including the theriocephalic ("beast-headed") gods and goddesses of the ancient Egyptians such as Horus (falcon), Heqet (frog), and Bastet (cat). For Otten, history itself is imagined as a series of thresholds and becomings that are combined and subtracted in an idiosyncratic algebra of allusions so that they pronounce only on their lack of clarity and finality.