A Scratching Not a Biting
Charlie Billingham, Carina Brandes, Daniel Dewar & Grégory Gicquel, Aaron Garber-Maikovska
January 10 - February 14 2016
Opening: Sunday January 10, 6 - 8 p.m.
I dreamed that I turned out my stomach and watched it roll across the floor. It quickly collided with a table leg, or rather, I thought it did—but then it curled around the thing as if trying to grab it, and I saw that a distinction between collision and perception is a luxury of the eyes. I also thought I’d float up to the ceiling and think about theology, but the noise of the belly’s experience only got louder as it rolled further away. My tongue spouted jargon and my eyes darted uselessly, as we rolled down the front steps and into what felt like a gritty parking lot, but the truth is we all found it very soothing to meet the world through texture. The concrete was so scratchy and interesting, the overhanging tires so bouncy and admirable. And with no visual edges to gleam between objects, time itself lost its linearity and became a rippling constant, in which each new sensation served only to deepen the one before it.
Then a shudder of nausea rippled through me, a premonition of some unimaginable catastrophe, and for the first time I became uneasily aware of a presence outside myself. Something moist and delicate seemed to touch me, but the feeling slipped away before I could grasp it. For an instant I was suffused with doubt, and in that doubt might have been the germ of a visceral consciousness. But then I was poked—a glowing prick of pain on one side, not the other—and poked again, and suddenly I was in an empty nightmare of dynamic violence. My eyes snapped back into separate focus and I watched myself getting bitten and mauled by a squirrel. The strange thing is that I still felt every contact as a fragment with no other side. There was a squeezing, not a biting; a scratching, not claws. My picture had no closer purchase on what was really happening than philosophy or physics.
The color dropped out of my vision, my skull dropped away from my eyes, and the world burst apart like a pomegranate into a series of static windows. Two muddy hands pulled a naked woman down a slope into a geometric abyss. A titanic bronze bear carried two more women across the globe. Ten penises that were also vaginas pointed at a thick black line scribbling itself across the wall. I don’t know whether it was the threat of consciousness that caused my anxiety or the anxiety that woke me up, but even as I scanned through these images I could feel my feet padding across the room and out the door, the jolt in my knees as I jumped down the steps, my straining breath as I ran to reclaim my guts. Terrified that my reintegrating body would leave it out, my mind tried to heal the fracture itself by reading the whole world as a metaphor for the body and the body as a metaphor for itself.
Text: Will Heinrich, A Scratching Not a Biting, 2016
Image: Daniel Dewar & Grégory Gicquel, Stoneware Mural with Pipes No. 2, 2015 (Detail)
Charlie Billingham (b.1984, London) lives and works in London. He completed his studies at the Edinburgh College of Art and the Royal Academy London. Recent solo exhibitions include: Moran Bandaroff (2016) (forthcoming); Schaulust, Supportico Lopez, Berlin (2015); Jam Standard, Brand New Gallery, Milan (2014); and Tender 2 The Sunshine Room, OHWOW, Los Angeles (2014). He has participated in group exhibitions at: MOT INTERNATIONAL (Brussels), Koppe Astner (Glasgow), A Palazzo (Brescia, Italy), and Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte (Naples, Italy). In 2013, Billingham was the recipient of a year long studio award from Land Securities at the Bow Arts Trust.
Carina Brandes (b. 1982, Germany) lives and works in Berlin. She completed her studies at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig in Braunschweig, Germany. Solo exhibitions include: Team Gallery (New York), BQ (Berlin), and White Columns (New York). Group exhibitions include: The Little Things Could Be Dearer, MoMA PS1, Queens, NY (2014); Grundfrage, CRAC Alsace, Altirch, France, (2013); Geid ist nict alles!, Kunstverein, Hamburg, Germany (2011); Field of Questions, Galerie Eva Winkeler, Cologne (2011); Blessedness, COCO, Vienna (2011); and Too Much, Kunstruppe, Cologne (2011). In spring 2016, she will be the subject of a solo exhibition at Team Gallery, New York.
Daniel Dewar & Grégory Gicquel (b. 1976 in Forest of Dean, England and 1975 in St. Brieuc, France, respectively) studied at the École régionale des beaux-arts, Rennes, France, and live and work between Brussels and Paris. Recent solo exhibitions include: Front Desk Apparatus, New York (2015); Stoneware Murals, Établissement d’En Face, Brussels (2015); Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Brussels (2014); La jeune sculpture, Daniel Dewar & Grégory Gicquel, Musée Rodin, Paris (2014); Le Hall, Espace 315, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2013); and Jus d’orange, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013). They were the recipients of the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2012.
Aaron Garber-Maikovska (b. 1978, Washington D.C.) lives and works in Los Angeles and received his MFA from UCLA. Recent solo exhibitions include: STANDARD (Oslo) and Greene Exhibitions (Los Angeles). Group exhibitions include: Simon Lee (Hong Kong), Michael Thibault (Los Angeles), Kavi Gupta (Berlin), Fahrenheit (Los Angeles), David Shelton Gallery (Houston), Fused Space (San Francisco), Nagel Draxler (Cologne), and Karma International (Zurich). His works are in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.