Opening times: 19:00
John Welchman, Femmy Otten
John C. Welchman
"What's a Head, or Afoot?: Femmy Otten's Partitive Aesthetics"
Elena Sorokina, curator of the HISK, is inviting John Welchmani for an open lecture at the HISK.
This event will celebrate the recent publication of Femmy Otten: Slow Down Love, essays by John C. Welchman and Laurie Cluitmans (Rotterdam: nai010) and will be followed by the book signing session with the artist. Elena Sorokina, curator of the HISK, will moderate the evening.
TUESDAY 05 09 2017 - 19.00, HISK Auditorium
The event is free but the number of places is limited, please RSVP at email@example.com
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.
Femmy Otten studied at the HISK Higher Institute for Fine Arts in Ghent and was a resident artist at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam as well as at Atelier Holsboer, Cité Internationales des Arts in Paris. In 2013, Otten was awarded the de Volkskrant Beeldende Kunst Prijs. Recently her work was on view in the following exhibitions: 'Tien jaar de Volkskrant Beeldende Kunst Prijs', Stedelijk Museum, Schiedam (2016); 'Meditations on a Hobby Horse', CIAP, Hasselt (2015); The Restless Gods, performance at Predikherenkerk and Museum M, Louvain (2015); 'Een nieuwe koning, een nieuw portret', Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (2014); 'Royal Award for Modern Painting 2011', Royal Palace, Amsterdam (2011); 'Afterlife', Museum Tot Zover, Amsterdam (2011); 'Return on Invest', Stroom Den Haag, The Hague (2012); 'Hydrarchy: Power and Resistance at Sea', Gasworks, London (2010).
John C. Welchman is Professor of art history in the Visual Arts department at the University of California, San Diego. His books on art include Modernism Relocated: Towards a Cultural Studies of Visual Modernity (Allen & Unwin, 1995), Invisible Colours: A Visual History of Titles (Yale UP, 1997), Art After Appropriation: Essays on Art in the 1990s (Routledge, 2001) and Guillaume Bijl (JRP|Ringier, 2016). Past Realization: Essays on Contemporary European Art (Sternberg, 2016) is the first volume of his collected writings. Welchman is co-author of the Dada and Surrealist Word Image (MIT Press, 1987), Mike Kelley (Phaidon, 1999), and Kwang-Young Chung (Rizzoli, 2014); and editor of Rethinking Borders (Minnesota UP, 1996), Institutional Critique and After (JRP|Ringier, 2006), The Aesthetics of Risk (JRP|Ringier, 2008) and Black Sphinx: On the Comedic in Modern Art (JRP|Ringier, 2010). He is Chair of the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts.