Fruits of the Lûm @ Crown Building Studios, Liverpool
Gabrielle de la Puente, May 5th 2k16

I wanted to see The Killers play Hyde Park in 2011 so my mum took me and my friend down to London. During the day, before the gig, before pizza express, we went to Tate Modern/ my 1st time there, I was kinda bubbling and ! :( my mum complained loudly about everything. She thought it was boring, that the work was stupid! I was embarrassed, she didn’t get it - and goddddd my reaction was not okay. Tiny class war??like I was already drawing lines between the cultured and the layman. I hadn’t even started my A-Levels yettttt I didn’t get it either, I was pretending to. I had the cheek to tell my own mum off in Tate Modern that day and I barely looked at her during dinner.

The White Pube is my reparation because I’m really sorry. 

And belieeeeve me, I am in the last weeks of my BA and I truly resent ‘I don’t get it’ art. (And I wont give examples because realistically you have your own, you have many). It has had me sweating in galleries and crits, feeling inadequate for not understanding its theoretical gravitas/not knowing why I should respect it. Then I just realised: oh wait, I don’t have to get it. I don’t have to want to get it either.

Tutors have failed to convince me that coy art, soggy with theory, is okay (and I think theory is fine, I just want thought to glitter, to be accessible, appreciable). I have wondered if my tutors were offended by this politic - they were my art-literacy guides and I wanted to bin the dictionary. Also, they seemed to have settled that non-issue themselves/ completely, comfortably, quickly/ they were on the other side - inside - and had gone on making art. I stuck myself on the wall, stubborn, moaning about clarity and literality. An actual issue for me, something I cared about through every encounter, there in all my efforts towards production. I hate that art-literacy is something like mind-reading. I am always with art and I don’t have a clue what is going on (more than) half the time. 

The fact I think there is something to get (like some end-goal present) in an artwork reveals my basis in narrative, and my want for relation and content. It is a preference and an assumption, I know. I can’t always stomach quiet art / to be with something that speaks for itself is in comparison a relief. Give me the behind the scenes, the answers, receipts. If you don’t, it is going to be an effort, and that art will become art art. And if I enjoy it, I am enjoying it ‘anyway’; liking it in spite of narrative, which remains a stubborn reference point. 

And this is not to say narrative in the arts is a condition demanded by the non-art-inducted, the non-art-educated, nor that abstraction is an acquired and exclusive mode - neither hold (see Ann Veronica Janssens’ mist room in the Wellcome Collection, for one). But somehow I’m in that clumsy dichotomy, and it’s an entanglement through which I write and frame and make art/ and I’m typing this while I sit in my degree show installation, something I’ve stretched across levels of immediacy and a slower consideration. It literally talks about itself in a script I’ve written to cater to culture vultures, academia, and my family - because knowing this art is for so specific a display setting, I’ve lost myself(-indulgence) trying to make sure people can follow and maybe then, incidentally, enjoy. Lol, I’m panicked and generous, not wanting to be back in pizza express with a cob on/ still wondering how I can share these things I make and constellate without art and discourse that is open and levelled and still valid ? ? Mostly I feel like a hypocrite who loves jargon and poetry and Pipilotti Rist.

Most exhibition reviews require the reader to have done a tonne of legwork already, a BA worth of thinking - and that’s an exclusivity you writers might want to fight for, something you think you have earned. (Are you protective? Are you patient when someone asks you to explain?) But a way for me to reject that term has been to write physical-reaction-as-review. Jesse Darling tweeted after I reviewed their Arcadia Missa show: ‘not facetious or ironic, this might b the harshest most true review bc @thewhitepube channels somatic currents not jus fuxxin w dyscourse.’ Like I have been articulating something sticky and liminal about the spatial qualities of exhibitions, like I’ve become reactive to object and image, admitting my mood and moon, my context, myself through writing here. And it seems a fuller way to critique art. So, where other reviews write through information, The White Pube writes through encounter. And I feel okay, because it means I am putting narrative back into abstraction - and it is a better frequency, like how my mum (learning assistant) or my sister (chef) might feel, you know, alien art explorers in a gallery. 

This stressy preamble is small print for my entire white pube writing but I had to reiterate myself for this because MY MUM CAME TO AN EXHIBITION WITH ME, and it was weird! Something happened, like her being there pulled the rug out from under everything. Her company had me actually looking at art as just form and shape and colour around a room. It was like my tactic of writing physical-reaction-as-review was just my default in her company, some natural reality check. And of course. Neither of us were at all concerned with content or intent - like, my mum doesn’t know shows come with press releases and I want the excuse of the press release to be obvious in the work already. And so here we were at Tžužjj’s Fruits of the Lûm exhibition at Crown Building Studios, Liverpool, two aliens together.

And I thought: too many big fishes, the art needs a bigger pond. There was a tension between work that came off shaky and defensive, like trying to maintain eye contact with someone much taller, and the sky moves over them because you are slowly tipping backwards/ this exhibition needed a foot to jump back behind and steady itself - - - yeah I’m blaming the CBS fish tank but it was also partly Holly Hendry’s shapes which in this configuration became gestured interventions (I just don’t think they quite landed)/ part the dried salt dough hooked through t-shirts under Mike Aitken’s clothes: what a miserable aesthetic lol, some people must have loved that (and still, this work seemed like a casual proposal rather than the statement/the foot underneath for balance)/part Adam Ferriss’ quiet violence - just too precarious/and part Jake Laffolley’s landline on the wall - I called the number and it was awkward. Chloe Manasseh’s painting-installation, though, was respite against all this - as were the light boxes (installed across the city) - and I say ‘against,’ like together the rest of the art things were stressing me out, but here I could come up for air.

And maybe Tžužjj will be sad I have not written about this exhibition as it measures up against the press release but ^ The White Pube means I don’t have to do that. And so I’m ending this with my mum. I messaged her last night and it was funny and awkward to talk about art together. She has never forgotten the Tate Modern incident, when I threw distance between us, when I caused her offence. Lol I tried to ridicule her when all along, and it’s something she saw before I did, art has been the ridiculous one.

b͓̽e͓̽s͓̽t͓̽ ͓̽v͓̽i͓̽e͓̽w͓̽e͓̽d͓̽ ͓̽i͓̽n͓̽ ͓̽l͓̽a͓̽n͓̽d͓̽s͓̽c͓̽a͓̽p͓̽e͓̽
͓̽o͓̽r͓̽ ͓̽o͓̽n͓̽ ͓̽a͓̽ ͓̽d͓̽e͓̽s͓̽k͓̽t͓̽o͓̽p͓̽

{ 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔬𝔫𝔩𝔶 𝔯𝔢𝔞𝔰𝔬𝔫 𝔗𝔥𝔢 𝔚𝔥𝔦𝔱𝔢 𝔓𝔲𝔟𝔢 𝔠𝔞𝔫 𝔰𝔱𝔦𝔩𝔩 𝔢𝔵𝔦𝔰𝔱 𝔦𝔰 𝔟𝔢𝔠𝔞𝔲𝔰𝔢 𝔰𝔬𝔪𝔢 𝔬𝔣 𝔬𝔲𝔯 𝔯𝔢𝔞𝔡𝔢𝔯𝔰 𝔠𝔥𝔬𝔬𝔰𝔢 𝔱𝔬 𝔰𝔲𝔭𝔭𝔬𝔯𝔱 𝔲𝔰 𝔢𝔞𝔠𝔥 𝔪𝔬𝔫𝔱𝔥 𝔳𝔦𝔞 𝔓𝔞𝔱𝔯𝔢𝔬𝔫. 𝔚𝔢 𝔰𝔬𝔪𝔢𝔱𝔦𝔪𝔢𝔰 𝔡𝔬 𝔱𝔞𝔩𝔨𝔰 𝔞𝔫𝔡 𝔬𝔱𝔥𝔢𝔯 𝔧𝔬𝔟𝔰 𝔟𝔲𝔱 𝔓𝔞𝔱𝔯𝔢𝔬𝔫 𝔦𝔰 𝔥𝔬𝔴 𝔴𝔢 𝔤𝔢𝔱 𝔭𝔞𝔦𝔡 𝔣𝔬𝔯 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔞𝔠𝔱𝔲𝔞𝔩 𝔴𝔯𝔦𝔱𝔦𝔫𝔤 𝔥𝔢𝔯𝔢 - 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔯𝔢𝔳𝔦𝔢𝔴𝔰 𝔫 𝔞𝔯𝔱 𝔱𝔥𝔬𝔲𝔤𝔥𝔱𝔰 𝔞𝔫𝔡 𝔰𝔬 𝔬𝔫. 𝔄𝔫𝔡 𝔦𝔱'𝔰 𝔰𝔬 𝔦𝔪𝔭𝔬𝔯𝔱𝔞𝔫𝔱 𝔱𝔬 𝔲𝔰 2 𝔱𝔥𝔞𝔱 𝔴𝔢 𝔠𝔞𝔫 𝔰𝔱𝔞𝔶 𝔦𝔫𝔡𝔢𝔭𝔢𝔫𝔡𝔢𝔫𝔱 𝔠𝔯𝔦𝔱𝔦𝔠𝔰 𝔴𝔦𝔱𝔥𝔬𝔲𝔱 𝔱𝔦𝔢𝔰 𝔱𝔬 𝔟𝔦𝔤 𝔣𝔲𝔫𝔡𝔢𝔯𝔰 𝔬𝔯 𝔦𝔫𝔰𝔱𝔦𝔱𝔲𝔱𝔦𝔬𝔫𝔰, 𝔭𝔲𝔟𝔩𝔦𝔠 𝔬𝔯 𝔭𝔯𝔦𝔳𝔞𝔱𝔢. 𝔗𝔥𝔞𝔫𝔨 𝔶𝔬𝔲 𝔣𝔬𝔯 𝔟𝔢𝔦𝔫𝔤 𝔬𝔲𝔯 𝔬𝔩𝔡 𝔱𝔦𝔪𝔢𝔶 𝔭𝔞𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔰 - 𝔴𝔢'𝔩𝔩 𝔡𝔬 𝔬𝔲𝔯 𝔟𝔢𝔰𝔱 𝔱𝔬 𝔭𝔯𝔬𝔡𝔲𝔠𝔢 𝔮𝔲𝔞𝔩𝔦𝔱𝔶 𝔬𝔲𝔱𝔭𝔲𝔱; 𝔴𝔯𝔦𝔱𝔢 𝔰𝔱𝔲𝔣𝔣 𝔱𝔥𝔞𝔱 𝔦𝔰 𝔱𝔥𝔬𝔲𝔤𝔥𝔱𝔣𝔲𝔩 𝔞𝔫𝔡 𝔰𝔦𝔫𝔠𝔢𝔯𝔢. }

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