It’s title is a reference to the idea of soft power, as well as the 80s British New Wave band Soft Cell, while suggesting “a padded cell and by extension the panoptic gaze of the state or the institution.” Also referencing Benjamin H. Bratton‘s reverse panopticon effect as ‘exhibitionism in bad faith,’ where one understands they’re being watched but acts as if they’re not, the show looks at architecture, as it is employed within commercial and museum settings. It thus places emphasis on ‘surface, image and display,’ while rendering us “passive consumers and impotent political agents.”
The concept is used to explore “the comfort of half-truths, [that are] ambiguous and noncommittal,” as a way to validate alternative ideologies and belief systems, looking to the Geocentric model and its inevitable navigational errors and stubborn denials to respond to the space of ‘unknowing.’
Responding to the space and internal structure of the building itself, the works explore states of lust and belief, described in the press release as “constructed by the desire that birthed it, forever in a state of restructuring: communicating vessels, pouring into one another.”**
In an exploration of the parallels between artist and cannibal, the exhibition references Bill Shutt’s thoughts in Cannibalism: A perfectly natural history (2017) where he researches human consumption over the centuries. Piercing through outer layers to reach flesh and bones, each artist reflect in one way or another “the current state of the body” and “leaving nothing untouched” in the research of their subjects.
Aline Bouvy presented solo exhibition Who will wear my teeth as amulets? at New York’s Motelwhich ran from June 25 to July 24, 2016.
Curated by Brussels-based collective Bunk Club, the installation consisted of four new figurative wall reliefs, cast from acrylic-modified gypsum and arranged in a narrative tableaux, reading across the gallery as a life-size frieze. The figures hung on top of a wall drawing made with linoleum, spanning the entire space. The grotesque and mischievous characters evoke a sense of voyeurism from the viewer while maintaining an unapologetic detachment.
The exhibition explored the possibilities and confinements of the human body and its functions, and the power that comes from relinquishing control.**
For two weeks in July, exhibition space Exo in Paris hosted Belgian artist Aline Bouvy‘s solo show, Sorry I slept with your dog. Little information was given with the announcement of the show apart from an image which stood in as the Facebook event cover photo of one of Bouvy’s drawings of a worried face next to a sculpture cast of a foot. The face looks worried by how close the foot is and also potentially how contorted and flexible the person out of sight’s leg is. Bouvy’s drawing manages to make the viewer know this. It looks at you.
The phrase ‘Sorry I slept with your dog’ is to imagine a moment of self disgust. The moments in the the show are laid out via a similar format or thought/word-process of someone reflecting upon themselves. Sculpture feet are pigeon-toed hiding under black painted hay bails. The hay bails could even have only been in the space in order to host sad, sorry feet. There is a mini man drawn laid back or maybe knocked back on one of the thinner walls -which makes a nice contrast between his horizontal body drawn with perspective and the actual, thin vertical wall (aren’t all walls vertical?)
Underneath the charcoal man on the wall is everything he had in his pocket, according to a story that is so present inside all of the elements in this show and in Bouvy’s wider practice -without being verbalised. Of course the plaster casts of some buttons, a lighter, half a domino and some other bits that are lying on the floor are not from this guy’s pockets because he is a drawing, but Bouvy doesn’t even make you ask this ridiculous question. You just look at it and feel melancholic and you understand something.
Mounted on to the painted hay bails are some large printed images of a vaccum cleaner or water bottle with mountains of straws, or a squid, which, actually, upon describing in words seem to make sense in relation to the act and fact of suction. Bouvy’s work attaches itself on to you and maybe there is a really good reason for there being no words around the exhibition press. **