RIBOT is pleased to present Assholes of ambition, a series of previously unseen works specially made for this occasion by British artist, Kate Groobey (Leeds, 1979, she lives and works in Yorkshire and the south of France). Groobey’s diverse practice ranges from two-dimensional painting to the animated vitality of performance, bringing to life the characters from her painting through a series of improvised sketches for which she devises the costumes, settings, and music.
Her visit, together with her partner and muse, the writer Jina Khayyer, to the famous Sanjusangendo temple in Kyoto, was the inspirational source for this transversal project. Thanks to her journey to Japan, Groobey discovered the Dea della Misericordia dalle 1000 braccia, the thousand - armed goddess: in other words, Senju Kannon, the ultimate female “multitasker” who, with her innumerable limbs, holds aloft a series of objects of great symbolic value, among which are some objects for defence: an arrow, a bell, a mirror, and a moon. And it is this very theme of protection that lies at the centre of the Assholes of Ambition series which was inspired by the events that happened last year to her muse Jina Khayyer, events that raised a question that is as complex as it is fascinating: what are the tools that a woman needs to protect or even save herself?
The works by Groobey paint Jina Khayyer in a battle with her adversaries which are represented
as an embodied Stink or an Asshole which try to swallow her up. The adversaries symbolise a source of disturbance and suffering. As an answer to the attacks by the antagonists, Khayyer has armed herself with a series of protective tools necessary for defending herself, just as in the case of the Buddhist goddess.
In the paintings on show, all characterised by a strong narrative sense, there cohabit contrasting and recurrent symbols such as hearts, which are metaphors for compassion and empathy, and bolts of lightning, which are the emblem of power and strength. There are also references to wisdom, protection, and power, here represented by a large pencil, an owl, the sun, the moon, and the stars. The Assholes of Ambition series also reflects on some ambivalent motifs and images with a double value: examples are the arrows and the encircling hands that might refer as much to a protective force as to an external attack. It is from this subtle ambiguity that there come about further thoughts and a second question: does the greatest menace come from within or without?
The Special project for this show, a limited series of fabric sculptures sewn and painted by the artists hand, uses the same themes. These soft sculptures, which are inspired by lucky charms
discovered by Groobey and Khayyer in the Japanese temples, are fantastic weapons used by Khayyer for defending herself.
Kate Groobey (Leeds, 1979, she lives and works in Yorkshire and the south of France). She studied at the Royal College of Art, London, and the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University. Her work has been shown in solo and group shows at the Mizuma Gallery, Tokyo, 2018; IKON Gallery, Birmingham, 2018; Sean Horton, NYC, 2017; Redling Fine Art, Los Angeles, 2016; König Galerie, Berlin, 2016; and the Saatchi Gallery, London, 2010. Among other prizes, she has been awarded the Daiwa Foundation Art Prize, London, 2018.