With and without question mark: process as half of the battle?
At first glance, the images and objects of Christine Moldrickx can be seen as documentation of actions. At least that is when one has some background information, namely that a head - more precisely her head - is pushed through the wet, shaped basin before the clay is fired. Or that the mirrors were hanging on the black wall of her studio before they were daubed with marker and photographed. On both of them are traces and signs which suggest that something has happened over a period of time. This makes them witnesses to an activity past.
Does this conceptualization of witnessing and documentation set us on the right track? Could these gestures signify something else? The idea that as media they are passive imbues them with a perfect neutrality. As if whilst acting as a document, they could make themselves somehow invisible, and only mediate that which they are privy to. But that is not the case and the stubborn nature of objective reality rears its head. These objects are there. One can say: they are foremost being there. The actions performed on them withdraw behind their presence and with that, also the person, the actor of these actions. The artist disappears ... almost.
Help me, I have to pee, help me, oh, now it’s already too late.
Wet trousers are much more than a document. They shine with the complexity of verification and signification.
Of course one can write here about Beckett. Also of Lars von Trier’s The Kingdom. About violence and provocation. Openings, ruptures and mutations. About the experience of a child, and the difference between inner and outer perception. I also think of an incident Werner Herzog recalled when, in one of his tantrums, Klaus Kinski locked himself in the Munich bathroom for two days, remaining there until every single one of its tiles were smashed. Kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and the objects that make up these spaces.
Somewhat extensively I quote Herta Müller, from her opening speech of the Ruhrtriennale a few days ago: “Drum, catface, and hairpin were no play on words, but reality. And I knew, I should not tell this even to my best friend. It was like in the village, when I said to my grandmother on the way back from church: ‘The heart of Maria is like a cut watermelon.’ Upon which she said: ‘That may be so, but you mustn’t say this to anyone.’”
Christine Moldrickx works on the dismantling of neutrality and the expansion of language of mute objects. That you can say to someone.
Text written by Tobias Hantmann
Christine Moldrickx (b. 1984, Münster) lives and works in Amsterdam and Düsseldorf. ‘10 Seconds of Solitude’ is Moldrickx first solo exhibition at the gallery. She is an alumni of the Rijksakademie voor Beeldende Kunsten (2016), Amsterdam. Her work has been shown at Nassauischer Kunstverein, Wiesbaden (2016); Beton Brut, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (2016); blip blip blip, Leeds (2016); Bon-Gah, Tehran (2016), artothek, Cologne (2013); Kunstraum Düsseldorf (2011), Schaufenster Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf (2008), among others.