Cookie Gate happened in Dublin’s Ellis King in July 2015 during a period in our making history where all information around an art work or its object is attached so loudly to it – where words around art are as redundant as they are needed. The work by the 32 artists, including Thea Govorchin, boychild and Kari Altmann addressed the moment of communication between art work and audience. By thinking about the structures of desire inherent in looking at adverts (and Facebook art show press releases, for example) the show, which ran 10 July – 15 August, aimed to dissect what the press release referred to as the ‘pre-engagement’ part of expression. Do artists second-guess what to make for an audience? Is this a passive movement between consumption and outwards communication or is it transparent? If it is transparent is this because its ‘about’ giving in to desire and working with this also as a mode of identity making as an artist? What are the materials and material objects that get caught up in all of this? Maybe you just want a cookie, and another, and another.
The press release reads: “Corporations, brand names, and images become rituals, obsessions, and diversions. Consumption is made all but too easy”.
Amalia Ulman showed ‘Safety Net’ (2014) out of turquoise thongs attached together and spread across a garage door. The work is a weak safety net and possibly acts a little bit like desire does. Another piece that holds form and shape with tension was Dublin-based Fiona Hallinan’s ‘Pendants’ (2015). These are a group of necklaces made from objects the artist found while walking around and are pinned to the wall beautifully in diamond forms, as though on display in a jewellers with a black matte background and well lit. Gina Folly’s ‘Life’ (2014) and ‘Untitled (2015) are two tiny wax ears resting on the surface of a pillow, half-embedded; half-listening out. One ear was made last year and the other this year. You are slowly hearing and consuming more (everything) -that is all you are doing in Folly’s piece. Kari Altmann presents what looks like a portrait and upright miniature trampoline called ’Stretch, Flex and Extend’ (2015). Attached to the silver frame by bungees is an image of a cream or some pills with the word ‘extend’ on the front and a plant coming out of the top, shrouded in a cloud of mystic visible pink aroma. Altman’s piece is transparent.
There are two works with faces with wide smiles and white teeth with braces. One is ‘Rigged V1’ (2015) by Auto-Italia‘s Kate Cooper and displays all at once an open mouth, a grimacing mouth that can’t talk for its braces and bridges, and an example or perhaps an offering of dental perfection.
boychild’s ‘Patrick’ (unbound)’ and ‘wu (threshold)’ (both 2015) look like x-rays or an image that is trying to come through. They are haunting and minimal and un-clear. They are possibly the works that communicate the most about outwards communication:
“Sometimes we go shopping for bare necessities and sometimes we are looking for something to really really satisfy us”. **
Exhibition photos, top right.