On the occasion of Gallery Weekend, Johann König, Berlin, is pleased to present Coming II, Jessica Jackson Hutchins’ first exhibition at the gallery with a body of new works, including sculptures, paintings and papier mâchés.
In Jessica Jackson Hutchins’ work, drawings tend towards sculpture, sculptures tend toward furniture, and paintings hover on the borders of materialization. They describe a precarious state of instability and portray their own working process in almost literal terms as expansive, absorptive and self-generating. The works are characterized by a seemingly automatic tendency to attract whatever happens to be around them – items of the artist’s or her family’s clothing, kitchen crockery, pieces of furniture, or words that happen to be on her mind. Though the various relics appear to have been arrived at through casual means, there is nonetheless an intrinsic value in the old t-shirt or coffee mug that make their way into one of her sculptures. Suggesting undisclosed memories and associations, they bring us closer to a cumulative existence construed from the repetitive tasks and the minor rituals of the everyday. The collisions of found domestic objects with self-made, expressively moulded ceramics describe experience at the level of the tactile and a responsive rather than systematic working method. The works become diaristic in their incidental observations about how we move amongst our belongings, and small-scale reactions to the effects of time passing and the clutter that accumulates around a life.
The tables and chairs in Hutchins’ work exist somewhere between domestic fragment and pedestal. “I often think of pedestals as prepositions: and, but, or, for,” Hutchins has said. “So even when I am using a table as a pedestal, it becomes part of a prepositional phrase for positioning something, but it also has its power as a noun.” This goes some way to explain the fertile duality in Hutchins’ works whereby the objects employed retain their blunt materiality (each sofa, table or arm chair remains very much itself, despite the damage inflicted on it), but they also invite a less specific, more associative reading generated by the prepositional nature the artist describes. Despite the artist’s embrace of what she calls “the simple factness of things”, it is in the precarious and instable relation between elements – joined together by an ‘and, but, or, for’ – that meaning transpires.
Hutchins describes the new works made for this exhibition in terms of another grammatical figure, the gerund, whereby a verb is transformed to become a noun. The notion of an activity becoming an object describes the artist’s explicit embrace of process and accident, as well as the particular appeal of ceramics as a medium in which fairy-tale like miniature landscapes or grottoes may be conjured, as if momentarily, from intricate masses of clay.
Text: Kirsty Bell
Jessica Jackson Hutchins (b. 1971 Chicago) lives and works in Portland, Oregon. Solo exhibitions of her work were held at The Hepworth Wakefield, UK (2013), Centre PasquArt Biel, Switzerland (2013), ICA Boston (2011), Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (2011), Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (2010). Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions: Living in the material world at the Museum Haus Esters and Haus Lange, in Krefeld, Germany (running until early August), The Encyclopedic Palace, 55th Venice Biennale (2013), Paper, Saatchi Gallery, London (2013), A Terrible Beauty is Born, 11th Lyon Biennial (2011), Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art (2010).
Hutchins’ work is in public and private collections including the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, East Lansing, Michigan; the Whitney Museum of Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; the Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
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