Matthew Crookes' Vikki Chopper and the Kristeva Project are episodic, fragmented creatures that exist on social media – one on instagram, the other as a blog – each giving only a partial narrative at a time. In his exhibition at Centrum Crookes presents these two projects, which over several years have gradually grown together, and in many ways mirror one another. One a complete work fragmented, the other a series of fragments which summe up to an ‘identity’. One a text on the abject, the other a bid to present as something Other.
Julia Kristeva’s Powers of Horror - An Essay on Abjection from 1982, explores the notion of rejection and that which is rejected creates a kind of ‘portrait’ of the one doing the rejecting. Since 2015 Crookes has been transcribing Kristeva’s text onto ephemeral surfaces, bits of rubbish, mirrors, blackboards as form of tribute; acting-out or living through the work. The language becomes material when scrawled in felt-pen onto detritus, windows, or on the backs of foil packaging and soiled tissues. Vikki Chopper, on the other hand, is Crooke’s alter-ego, his Rrose Selavy, and began as a shadow practice. Vikki is the compliment, the previously unseen. Abject also means that which we fear and which we internalize.
Who reflects on any of this, however, while scrolling along? Who will attempt to decipher the scrawled fragments of Kristeva’s book, or genuinely care if Vikki’s arse is cisfemme? The difference between the curated space, digital or physical, and the world at large has long since become blurred, but we are still socialised to follow conventions, when encountering something in the world, say in the street, as opposed to something in a dedicated space.