» ARTISSIMA 2019 «
November 1 — November 3, 2019
Opening: October 31, 2019, 5 pm
OVAL LINGOTTO FIERE TORINO -
New Entry - Stand FUXIA #4
1 > 3 November 2019
Opening (on invitation only): 31 October 2019
Insidious, virulent, repellent. Extremely tough to remove. They don't fly, but they do jump—and, even after extraction, they must be burned (some say with gasoline). Many suggest suffocating them with oil when they attach. DON'T DO IT. In the absence of air, they can vomit and contaminate even further. Transmitters of various infections including Lyme disease, they have afflicted, among others, countless celebrities. They lurk at the tip of shrubs near animal passages, where they anticipate the precise moment to attack. Once they have made contact with the skin, they insert the rostrum where they please, and, by injecting an anaesthetic substance, leave the pain of the bite undetected to the unfortunate victim. If left undisturbed, they rest feeding on blood for several days.
HOT AREAS: groin type, under the armpits. These are their cavities of pleasure. Even in the middle of the buttocks, they nestle. TO REMOVE: work pliers under the skin of the affected area, turning and pulling until the animal is discharged.
ART PLACES AS TICKS INFESTED ZONES
Josefin Arnell continues to disseminate ticks throughout realms of art. At the Van Abbe Museum (in the commission following the bestowal of the Theodora Niemeijer Prijs for emerging women artists based in the Netherlands), she transplanted one of gigantic proportions: a monolithic, totemic “Mother Tick” in Luna-Park-horror-movie style, who plans undisturbed her massive distribution of itchy stepchildren. From the same species are those nested at Artissima, where the artist unfolds a protean display of video, sculptures, drawings and even lenticulars, a successive step in her prolific research as well as an extension of the solo show “Suck On Me Harder, I Eat You For Starter”, presented Spring 2019 at Lily Robert.
Here in Turin, welcomed by a flaming purifying carpet with the sympathetic smile printed on Yolanda Hadid’s t-shirt, the bestiary accentuates its punk and post-pop verve with grotesque and cybernetic transfigurations. If in the video-loop “Running / Failure is a feeling that exists long before it comes”, the predatory and phobic hallucination turns into a frantic rush amidst the thick and humid woods (privileged dwelling of the infamous parasite); then in her sculptures, the attack and the contamination are in progress: the filthiness is inflicted, inoculated and propagated.
At the verge of an incestuous relationship between fetishisized attraction and visceral repulsion, two paroxysmal, androgynous, emaciated and deformed creatures are imprisoned in the virulent bite of the thirsty, inveterate insect, which, clutched to its preys, draws succulently, devouring even their souls.
Once again, Josefin Arnell harshly stages an exuberant and raw parody of existential torments in the phantasmagoric context of natural catastrophes, with the maniacal urgency of horrific epidemics. The two disfigured lacquered sculptures—reminiscent of a dystopian Carnival float—stand as guardians of a temple to a world ruled by slobbery ticks, hunters of blood and human flesh. These abominable pests join the substantial inventory of allegories (the horse, the mother and the teenage girl) frequently enlisted by the artist to investigate recondite traumas and the deviant effects of man-made climatic destruction. Here, ticks seem to function diligently as a penance returned by Mother Nature. And in their avid act of suction, they even look like insatiable sucklings, re-configuring and reinforcing the artist’s recurrent incursions in the un-official meanders of motherhood.
Text by Fabio Santacroce
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Floating between aspects of documentary and fiction, Josefin Arnell’s work methodically navigates the space between exuberance and self-exploitation. Her often favored medium of video freely traverses digital and physical boundaries, including performance, installation, objects, poetry and drawings. Through storytelling, loose narratives are often centered around characters that attempt to navigate contemporary infrastructures with impossible demands. These characters veer toward endless monologues rather than conversations, meanwhile interlacing in a sort of metasphere to compose a script. By often choosing to work with non-actors, she captures a rawness that reflects an emotional landscape exploring unattainable desires, perfectionism and control. The teenage girl, the horse and the mother are recurring characters alongside clumsy allegories wrestling with conflicts of the human condition or environmental catastrophes. In addition to her solo work, she is also active in various collective projects and self-initiatives—most notably, HellFun, a collaboration between Josefin Arnell & Max Göran. HellFun makes films and performances, preferring to be brave and pathetic rather than drowning in shame. Another collaborative platform, Horsegirl, is run with artist Natasja Loutchko exploring intimacy and sisterhood. HorseGirl is currently developing their first feature film, starring both of the artists’ mothers.
In 2018, Josefin Arnell was awarded the Theodora Niemeijer Prijs—a prize for emerging female artists based in the Netherlands, which additionally resulted in a commissioned exhibition at Van Abbe Museum (Eindhoven). Arnell’s work has also been presented at International Documentary Film Festival (Amsterdam), Kunsthalle Münster (Münster), Beursschouwburg (Brussels), Contemporary Art Center Vilnius (Vilnius), and Moscow International Biennale for Young Art 2018 (Moscow). From 2015 to 2016, she participated in the two-year residency program Rijksakademie van Beeldende kunsten (Amsterdam). She holds an MA in Dirty Art from Sandberg Instituut (Amsterdam).