Animal with a Language, Oreet Ashery
waterside contemporary is pleased to present Animal with a Language, a solo exhibition by Oreet Ashery, her first with the gallery.
Animal with a Language engages with ‘rage against reason’, an attempt to foreground agency against a backdrop of prevailing flatline economies. In the exhibition, degraded actions and material forms, the political unconscious, body languages of exile and the salvage of utopian moments interact.
Within a flesh toned environment, hypnotic sound, text, videos and assemblages, Ashery’s objects and actors acquire meaning through associative transmission and direct expression. The gallery space becomes a codified system for the flow of subconscious excess, exhaustive languages of protest, grassroots actions and questionable cultural appropriations.
Reactivating The Clean and The Unclean, the protagonists of Vladimir Mayakovsky’s revolutionary 1921 play Mystery-Bouffe, Ashery collaboratively produced a collection of ponchos and headgear. These humble forms of dress made from ubiquitous cleaning materials - dish cloths, wipes, dusters, cellulose sponges, copper scouring pads, cable ties, tea towels, coffee cups, potato prints, monster rolls, marigold gloves, bin liners, coloured duck tape – are the uniforms of speculative purists and partisans, exploited labourers and heroes. Adorned with this couture collection, the cast expose themselves to the inevitable risk of becoming objectified fashion icons.
Another of Ashery’s characters is the Paranormal Pig, drawn from her recent project Party for Freedom. Here, the pig appears as a nonchalant woman ready for roasting. In another incarnation, the pig becomes an elevated sculptural figure and elsewhere reproduced as a snout-print, a ready logotype.
Within the troubling global condition of The Un/Clean, Ashery interrogates the paradoxical coexistence of revolt and desire towards the unclean and animalistic, the annihilation of the self and others.
Beware! The Unclean Are Rising Again! They Exist! They do Exist!
Unorthodox, multi-layered and eclectic, Oreet Ashery’s expansive body of work confronts ideological, social and gender constructions within the fabric of personal and broader contemporary realities.
Ashery mines counter-culture aesthetics and traverses photography, video, mass-produced and unique artefacts, text, commissioned music, and performance. Her recent projects include Party for Freedom, presented in venues across London with Artangel, and The World is Flooding at Tate Modern.
She has exhibited and performed extensively at international contexts such as ZKM Karlsruhe, Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin, Brooklyn Museum, Overgaden Copenhagen, DEPO Istanbul, Whitstable Biennale, Centre Pompidou, and Freud Museum.
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