Nothing human is alien to me
David Griggs, Eugene Choi, Cybele Cox
Ideas Platform, ARTSPACE, 2019
Nothing human is alien to me looks at ways in which the physical landscape of the body coalesces with the tender, emotional and vulnerable sensation of self.
Artspace One Year Studio Artists, Eugene Choi, Cybele Cox and David Griggs, come together for the first time in this exhibition to present a series of new works created in the Artspace studios. Focusing on the space between the internal and external scaffolds of the body, this exhibition becomes a medium to explore the fundamental and unifying experiences of love, prevailing resilience and the search for belonging.
Eugene Choi’s Weight of you (2019), reflects on the way our bodies absorb and carry the weight of our loved ones over time. Choi often employs steel as a performative implement suspending, climbing and entangling her own body within the frame. Here, the scaffold acts as both stand in and support structure for the body. Attached to the frame is a video of the artist in her childhood backyard performing one repetitive action on a loop, a reference to the complexity and desire to communicate with her parents without a common language. The unwavering steel is contrasted by this tender gesture, toying with notions of stability and support.
From the ceiling hang three anthropomorphic creatures that are ambiguously suspended - either descending to earth or floating away. Cybele Cox’s Moon Child 1, 2 and 3 (2019), evoke an uncanny feeling of encountering something familiar yet unknowable. We see suggestions of hands, faces and moon-like forms but they have transformed, springing from the artist’s imagination into something mythical. The moon in astrology represents the feminine, the body, mind and soul as one. Cox states, ‘it forms the foundation that connects us to the everyday but also to the divine - acknowledging the smallness of our ego-driven lives and the vastness of the universe.’ Inspired by human’s eternal desire to find meaning in the cosmos these figures leave us asking more questions than they answer.
David Griggs’ triptych Disco Rave History (2018) was painted following a major relapse of depression, an illness he has experienced six times since he was 25 years old. Griggs says, ‘As much as this illness weighs heavily on my entire being overtime I have learnt to fight this internal beast and live with it. As the saying goes “destruction breeds creation” (Anthony Kiedis).’ As part of his recovery, Griggs immersed himself back into his studio practice, developing a new series of works inspired by his love and admiration for painting as a medium. Disco Rave History is a homage to the frenetic energy of neo-expressionism bursting with vivid layers of colour and rough handling. Despite the marks of an intense subjectivity embedded in this painting the work is ultimately a celebration of resilience, ‘recovery was now about colour, paint, energy and love.’