Aimee Heinemann is presenting a second solo exhibition, Instable, over one night at 7 Grove House in north-east London on Sunday November 30 from 6pm.
Recently contributing to coeval.gen.in.‘s EDENunlimited/tbc.tbc in Berlin, and following a first solo exhibition, COPE AGAINST COPE, at Life gallery’s original physical location on Consort Road in January, this show promises a sculptural installation and a reading from a found text.
Perhaps as an insight into what that found text might involve, the event announcement includes the fragment below that points to an ongoing ‘personal as biopolitical’ bent:
“it could be like, a flourishing, briefly there’ll never be endtimes bc ~time~ ends before the end
an age of damp mossy overgrown pronouns, before an ice age freezes what’s always been in the cracks and cracks them open. it’s tempting to think that the hole in a hole would be solid, like a block rather than a deepening or maybe even an o p e n i n g. when it’s right you’ll knownothing. limp-wristed mutant, armed gurl god, nothing left to do but consecrate }everything lol
‘is ferality even a word?’ idk i hope not
v v v religious naps/radical moisture/true metallic gore/moominland midwinter/a queer journal of heresy/identity kinda like a fractal glue the more it sticks to the more there is for it to stick to and the more it /has/
to stick to to support it’s own weight it’s fucked up but still, it’s nice to find each other//
London’s Rye Lane Studios will be hosting the I Don’t Know Why I Like It, I Just Do, Dick Dick Dick @GayBar exhibition from August 29 to 31.
With the institution of ‘gay’ deemed inextricable from the shifting logics of the gay bar itself, the exhibition and event series aims to re-fabricate the mythology of homosexuality. Starting with a private viewing and launch party on August 29, I Don’t Know Why I Like It… looks for a space of confused gender and sexuality, where “a sincere expression of embodiment unravels into a critique of these bodies”.
Created by Hannah Quinlan Anderson and Rosie Hastings, who are also the short exhibition’s headliners, Friday’s launch party will feature cheap cocktails, an exclusive guest list, and back-to-back DJs, including a DJing debut from Sam Thottington as Summer Faggot Death Wish with some “high-energy sad bliss faggot vibes” and a “#guninmypurse” dress code.
When Arcadia Missa co-founder and THE ANGRY SHOW curator Rózsa Farkasaccidentally emailed me her “secret planning pdf”, I was confused by the artwork descriptions like “perhaps the goetse vid and the text she wrote on the modern phallic subject in htsf, in vinyl on the wall” for Jesse Darling’s ‘Mouf’ (2013) video. Assuming there was a reason for presenting the exhibition information sheet in such an unfinished manner (where a ‘?’ stood in place of an actual closing date), I asked Farkas if I could use the piece below, being drawn to how it called attention to the connotations of a given font: the delicate and graceful Chancery for “feelings”, clumsy and awkward Comic Sans for “the lonely sad girl” and dark Gil San Ultra Bold for “Other”. It turned out to be a very old draft curatorial plan.
Nonetheless, Farkas said I could use it but asked that I clarify how the writing came about, “cos like – they aint proper sentences ahahaa <3 <3”. In the context of THE ANGRY SHOW, though –where the didactics are scrawled in black felt tip over white walls and Jake Kent quotes UK punks Crass in ‘Do they owe us a living? ‘Course they fuckin’ do‘ (2013) –it’s sort of fitting.
Because between Aimee Heinemann’s gleefully low-brow reference to Chris Crocker’s emotional plea in ‘Alter (Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels)’ (2013), with “LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE” spray painted on a survival blanket, and Rachel Lord’s tribute to the pink ‘girl’ Angry Bird in ‘Stella with flowers’ (2013), THE ANGRY SHOW already willingly rejects the “refinement, delicacy, or sensitivity” that Kent’s ‘crass’ is defined as being lacking in.
This is an exhibition that refuses the political structures that not only dictate one’s social worth via externally defined acceptable behaviours but determine its very aesthetic. To Melika Ngombe Kolongo & Daniella Russo’s ‘Unintended Circumstances‘ (2013) video, Farkas says, one viewer at the Sydney exhibition commented that the work, drenched in radiance and depicting the curb Florida teen Trayvon Martin was gunned down on, doesn’t look very “angry” at all.
“If we think about crying selfies and lonely girls, we begin to see a hierarchy in the deployment of affect: the Other cannot embody anger as part of their affect/subjectivity”, she explains. THE ANGRY SHOW refuses that hierarchy and “welcomes rage”. **
Pummelling selfies into the online abyss and staring intently into the gaps between parentheses, Aimee Heinemann is a London-based artist creating spaces to exist inside. A first solo exhibition, COPE AGAINST COPE, opened at Peckham’s Life last week, and came with the question, “what gender is the collapsed core of a dead star?” The answer coming in a quote from a National Geographic documentary Monster Black Holes: “It’s empty because the object, or system that collapsed to form it in the first place, has shrivelled away to nothing…it no longer exists”. As the artist’s angstravanganza Tumblr tells us, it’s “literally not a thing”.
While working towards the show, Heinemann says they were “thinking about subjectified objects, feeling really disillusioned with ‘identity’ and ‘representation’” betweenwatching documentaries about black holes, attempting self-hypnosis for anxiety, researching vitamin supplements and “feeling guilty about writing about people.” Because inspiration comes in negation –in the absence or the threat of it –whether that’s the alluring idea of being nothing or the rejection of normativity in favour of creating your own alternative space.
Having spent three days at the gallery to bring COPE AGAINST COPE to life, Heinemann pieced the work together in a way that makes it crucially dependent on that space and timeframe it exists inside –foil forms itself against surfaces, wood leans precariously and crystals glimmer incongruously amongst vast space. Sheets of A4 exhibit remnants of online findings and streams of consciousness that are as impactful as they are physically flimsy; by their very nature they’ve already ceased to exist since being committed to paper. As Heinemann puts it, “I was trying to figure out how to make something look fragile and dangerous at the same time, like it might fall apart –and that’s a threat. It’s important to me that it’s actually precarious, it doesn’t just look like it is. I’ve joked to people that they should come early because there’s more chance it won’t have ‘broken’, but it’s not really a joke.”
In this sense, the work is never quite tangible, always under threat of disappearing, embodying the “weaponised disintegration” of a collapsing star –full of potential to expire, but actively reject external influences as it does so. “People have told me before that my work won’t speak to them, that it doesn’t let them in,” they add. “I still worry about this sometimes, but I also think it’s not necessarily a worthless experience for people –like, yeah maybe the work doesn’t want to speak to you, maybe it doesn’t want to let you in.”
Here’s a list of Aimee Heinemann-recommended book titles that might help nonetheless.
AH: “A kind of dense, abstract, anti-identity ‘coming of age’ novel where nobody finds themselves, everyone gets sick and has awkward difficult sex and you’re never sure if you’re reading the voice of a boy, another boy, a girl, a building, a river, a horse, or electricity. I’d been thinking a lot about the violence of language –how nothing exists without a name, but naming is inherently violent. That’s something that comes up a lot.”
AH: “This book is based on a conference, and I’m not sure how well all the texts fit together, but there’s an amazing thread running through it linking Minimalist sculpture to post-fordism via anthropomorphised objects. I got really into this idea of art objects performing art world affective labour on behalf of their makers, which is almost certainly a huge leap, but my favourite theory facilitates that kind of reading.”
AH: “I always come back to this piece, partly because it’s very hard to internalise. I feel like I have to use it to call myself out. It takes what a lot of ‘body-positive’ rhetoric hints at (I’m increasingly suspicious of any unconditionally ______-positive ideologies) but takes it to a really necessary, difficult, uncomfortable conclusion.”
AH: “This is a case of ‘I don’t know if I understand’ it but it’s been really helpful anyway’, and I just really like it as a text. There’s this idea about the trauma of contingency that really resonated with my making process, somehow.”
AH: “Grant Morrison’s run of Doom Patrol is essentially about traumatised defective queer subjects who have to be superheroes because they’re too maladjusted to do anything else. There isn’t really a redemption narrative, and saving the world doesn’t really make any of them any happier. I feel like this was my queer theory before I discovered queer theory.”
AH: “A really vital rebuttal to the discourse about the internet and social networking as a kind of black hole of alienation and self-absorption. Not denying narcissism but reframing and communalising it as queer becoming-unbecoming, a generous mobilisation to collapse difference. It might be very validating for your internet presence.”
AH: “This is very much theory-as-therapy territory for me, but there’s a line in this which basically argues that there’s very little distance between happiness and sadness, all there is is intensity of affect. I mean, I think that’s what he argues. That’s the other reason for Massumi’s presence on this list –every word and line seems to negate and simultaneously reinforce the word and line preceding it. And following it. The introduction to the book is called ‘Concrete Is as Concrete Doesn’t’ so I think he’d take it as a compliment. I really love it as poetry.”
AH: “Pink and Black Attack describes itself as an ‘anti-assimilationist queer anarchist periodical’. I’m very critical of a lot of it, but Preliminary Notes… has been really useful for me in thinking through what queer politics could look like without reinforcing or reproducing the idea of stable, cohesive, safe identities. But it also highlights the fact that it’s almost impossible to talk about identity without being complicit in its reproduction. A page from this essay actually turns up in the show.”
AH: “I’m really into melodramatic camp high-performative self-parodying displays of ‘negative’ affect, which a lot of black metal totally ends up being. A significant amount of the writing in this book ends up being about its failings as a genre: the apocalypse never comes, negation negates itself, the sound of the ancient forest is an electric guitar, to worship Satan you have to put faith in Christian theology, they’re not even very good at being Nazis, etc – which is obviously what’s interesting.”
AH: “I don’t know if I should even try and summarise this one: a thinking through of trauma in relation to bodies and objects and spatiality and temporality and connection and control and medical discourse and politics?” **