T293 is pleased to present All Great and Precious Things, a group show that brings together new artworks by Julia Gutman, Henrik Olai Kaarstein, Ndayé Kouagou, and Alexis Ralaivao.
Intimacy is the fil rouge that connects the artworks of All Great and Precious Things. The artists discuss our current mode of existing in relation to others. By investigating the fluidity of our interactions in a reality in which affections are easily intertwined with physical objects, jewellery, garments and household utensils are elevated to a new position of devotion. The sensual qualities depicted in the works are also expressed between animate and inanimate bodies, thus originating a constant alteration of their meanings in our perception. The dialogue between the artworks is conceived as an investigation into the humanisation of objects, and illustrates the particular bond our time has established between us and the material presences of our quotidianity.
Julia Gutman (b.1993, Australia) creates textile pieces, made of clothes worn and gifted by her friends, that layer together multiple narratives in a lively reimagining of the patchwork. Drawing inspiration from her own life experiences and from iconic paintings from diferent periods of time, Gutman’s work merges personal and collective histories to explore themes such as femininity, intimacy and memory. Through a delicate and yet aggressive approach to the act of sewing, the artist handcrafts powerful stories of reparation, both of the material itself and of her personal feelings.
After being obliged to spend a large amount of time inside his studio, which is also his home, Henrik Olai Kaarstein (b. 1989, Norway) embraced the household environment and as consequence, developed an attentive gaze to the objects he was constantly around with. Ordinary utensils, such as paper towels, a fan heater or even a cooking pot are resignified through Kaarstein’s works and become objects worthy of an appealing presentation. The colour fields involving the objects are adorned by flowery inserts attached to pastel-made ribbons, seemingly wrapping itself around the canvas and framing the depicted objects. The paintings, then, become imaginable gifts, from the artist to himself, or to the viewer, or even to the objects themselves, turning into Kaarstein’s manifestation of affection towards the world around him.
Ndayé Kouagou (b.1992, France) encapsulates difcult questions of existence both through his mixed media sculptures and his performances. The sculptures, made of resin-treated clothes, unveil provoking statements strategically used to tickle the audience. For the exhibition, the artist will perform his latest act “I’ll only swallow my own fluid”, in which he discusses our contemporary connection with the world and people around us, while asking thought-provoking questions to the public, playing with their emotions and trespassing established social boundaries.
The delicate paintings of Alexis Ralaivao (b. 1991, France) refect the artist’s desire to create a visual diary that captures intimate moments. The works are snapshots of everyday life, in which Ralaivao converges his attention on particular features of his loved ones, such as pieces of jewellery, hairstyles or clothing. The closed-up compositions find a balance in the representation between bare skin and precious details that adorn it, emphasising the intimate, sensual quality of Ralaivao’s paintings.