Campagne Première is pleased to present Animal with a Language, a multifaceted exhibition by London based artist Oreet Ashery.
Animal with a Language is inspired by Mystery Bouffe, a 1921 play written by Vladimir Mayakovsky for the anniversary of the Russian Revolution. In Mystery Bouffe, "The Unclean" build a boat to save themselves from a world-wide flood, "The Clean" ask to come aboard, but once on board they take over.
Reactivating "The Clean" and "The Unclean", Ashery worked collaboratively with community groups* to produce a collection of ponchos and headgear. These humble forms of dress made from cleaning materials are the uniforms of speculative purists and partisans, exploited labourers and heroes. In the exhibition, degraded materials, the political unconscious, languages of exile, restriction and liberation 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.
Another character reappearing in the exhibition is the emblem of the pig. In the video titled How to Kill a Pig, a nonchalant woman is waiting for roasting whilst listening to UK animal-slaughter protocols and regulations. In another incarnation the pig is reproduced as a brass reflective snout-print, a ready logotype, titled Paranormal Pig. A tubular image of a human tied into a Hogtie and held together by a delicate magnet, is yet another manifestation. Hogtie is a form of constriction used on animals and humans and as such practised and performed by the police and the army, as well as the porn industries and domestic sexual practices.
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.