artist / participant
The joint - or the joining part - as structural component plays a large role throughout the works in the solo exhibition "Your Wet Sleeve in My Neck". In each of the works the joining part is maintained as a component, but is also recognized as the generator of a larger whole, allowing us to look closer at the act of 'making things'. Based on Heidegger's notion of 'the thing', where the thing is defined by virtue of its relationship to everything else, the differing features of such structural components can be seen as the result of the individual contexts in which they are placed. The 'joint' or joining part can thus be presented as autonomous object that can be implemented through its relation to other parts, comparable to Heidegger's notion of 'the thing'. A corresponding confirmation of this statement can be found in Elizabeth Grosz' conception of the thing, as described in her text "Notes on the Thing":
"The thing is both pre- and post-technological, that which technology finds given and remakes as its own. In this sense, technology must be understood to be the second-order thing, the thing that finds and makes other things, as it itself has been made." 1
In the presented works, the joint "finds and makes other things, as it itself has been made". The works shown in the exhibition emphasize an interpretation of the joining part as a 'design solution,' and as the materialization of the phenomenon of technology, acting as symbol of human intervention and thus form the embodiment of the 'second-order thing'. The role of the joint as structural component is seen as a guiding position in the expression of the whole, illustrating that the joint comes forth from one material as it informs another. Through its specified role as part and generator of a larger whole, the joint as 'second-order thing' unavoidably finds and makes 'other things'.
In this way we can understand that material possesses structural and aesthetic qualities or even characteristics, before its integration into any process of making. Regarded technically, its foremost resemblance with the thing is that a joint can never be considered as a final result. It is first through the act of joining, binding, connecting or carrying that the joint takes on the role of thing and prepares a new material, or in other words, generates a structure. The thing is regarded as an active factor and can be seen as a catalyst for expression, innovation, and for the 'making of things'. Things thus undergo a metamorphosis to become other things, resulting in an identifiable or 'nameable' object. The object is thus a construct of things that only demonstrate a role or have value when they contribute towards the object's totality.
In the exhibition "Your Wet Sleeve in My Neck" Marlie Mul further develops her exploration into the function and representation of materials. Guided by the inherent characteristics materials, objects are produced that come forth from a deep concern for the meanings that lie behind such ideas as 'making', 'process' or 'innovation'. Challenging their own expressive character as autonomous entities, Marlie Mul's work identifies cognition through material experience, which allows a focus on the idea of the artistic process as a fragmented process - a process that is conventionally regarded as continuous and the resulting work identified as one entity. Her work thus poses critical questions in relation to skill, autonomy, and the position that the artist can take regarding such issues. As is underscored by the exhibition title, the works amplify these ideas through the application of materials in following with their fundamental qualities, expressions and functions: Styrofoam is applied for its lightness, versatility and non-flexibility, carved wood for its slightly arched but tensioned bendability, textile details because of draping or dangling qualities, plastic tubing for precise and flexible functions. Each of the materials is positioned to support itself in the formation of independent structures.
1 Elizabeth Grosz "Notes on The Thing" in The Pragmatist Imagination: Thinking about "Things in The Making" Joan Ockman, ed. (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2000) 156.
Marlie Mul is a Dutch artist currently based in London and Berlin. She received a Masters Degree in Architecture Theory from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London in 2009 and a Bachelors Degree in Fine Art from the Academy of Fine Arts in Maastricht. Marlie Mul is co-initiator of the online artists PDF publishing platform www.xym.no and teaches at the Architectural Association in London.
Recent group exhibitions include "Kiss-You-Through-The-Phone" at Paloma Presents in Zürich and "Translation as a Structuring Principle: If A Then B" at Gentili Apri in Berlin. The artist will be showing work as a part of the exhibition "The Smart Frrridge (Chilly Forecast for Internet Fridge)" at Kunstverein Medienturm in Graz in December 2010.
Your Wet Sleeve in My Neck