Hairy Things

  • Tin Garcia, Maria Jeona Zoleta, Catalina Africa and Carina Santos
  • May 26 - June 23, 2012

An exhibit featuring the works of Tin Garcia, Maria Jeona Zoleta, Catalina Africa and Carina Santos
Curated by Lena Cobangbang

I had this small and rather confrontational discussion with a director of an art fair while abroad and the point of contention was the relevance of Valie Export. Initially she asked me what I thought of her and I immediately answered that I cannot relate to her since my knowledge of her was just from books and published materials and through this retrospective of women artists at the Centre De Pompidou in 2009. But of course the director was quite frustratingly disappointed by my reply and I concurred further that it’s probably a generational issue that’s why I said that I feel distant from her and whatever she’s done. Just to save a bit of my ass I just admitted that she contributed much to the movement but then again we look up much more to women in punk rock like Exene Cervenka of X-ray Spex, The Slits, Lydia Lunch and Kathleen Hanna, and to which the director in turn blanked out.

Valie Export is most famous for her work where she sits slovenly on a chair carrying a big gun and fully suited in jacket and pants but the pants were slit at the crotch so you have a full view of her bushy vagina. It was really full-on funny and reeked of irony as the work was titled Genital Panic, most especially during the time it was created – 1969 – the height of women’s lib in the western world. But there was another work of hers which I hated and it’s called Tapp- und Tast-Kino (“Tap and Touch Cinema”). It’s a piece where she was wearing a box over her torso, inviting everyone to feel her boobies hidden in the box. It’s just probably personal abhorrence for such things and this was the work where the director and me were locked in some unresolvable differences. Well, I thought, that probably launched mainstream porn and porn is so goddamnly nauseatingly omniscient now. But for sure porn afficionados and fans would love to have that touch cinema app for their fetish videos.

Most people wouldn’t touch such issues with a ten foot pole maybe because it all seems hairy, feigning political correctness in trite observance of civil politeness, but turning ribald soon as one gets so alochol-soaked. But now that everyone seems to be a frequent customer of waxing salons or have been lasered out of this hirsuteness and are more daring to flash baby-skin slickness it can be also still easily taken for granted or derided to an inverse irony of such political posturings, as like pole dancing can now be considered an Olympic sport I guess.

While not consciously advocating for such issues and avoiding the fuss over it for years even vehemently denying readings of one’s work as even bearing any phormone trace of it, the last thing one wants to do is to organize a show rah-rah-rah-ing the powers that be of rrriot girls unleashed. But it’s about time to heed those heebie-jeebies and let boil over that simmering succotash.

Hairy Things gathers artists who represent current modes of art practice that are not really gender specific in their mastery and focus of their respective forms of expression and subject matter. It only happens that they are females and are doing it in their most idiosyncratic way.

Tin Garcia’s painting forefathers maybe traced from the ultra-romanticists of the Pre-Raphaelites who seem to have a tendency to paint nubile teens as fallen heroines from Greek tragedies and Arthurian legends, yet she recasts them or rather re-paints them over as bondage girls very much in control with their BDSM fetishes or mythological creatures with their neurosis revealed while Oh Bondage Up Yours wafts somewhere in your subconscious.

Jeona Zoleta, the most brashly unapologetic of them all, shouts out big pronouncements of her sexuality, desires, and her very own quirkyness via the swag and confidence of her painting skill, a seeming indictment of the macho posturing of heroic expressionist painting by punctuating them even more with garish pink and glitters and unwieldy installations stuck together with unicorn stickers and glow sticks.
Catalina Africa, the seeming wild card, as her conceptually-based works teeter in ambivalence, and dry drollness. She has a schizophrenic art practice that’s both cut and dried conceptual and compulsively girly when she teams up with Zoleta with their zany messy collaborations that are revisitations of teen age pajama parties. Pipilloti Rist would be a proud secret member to this exclusive girl art club.
Carina Santos’ literary-bound works are neat, and reserved, dainty, and well-crafted. Making collages from remnants of books as though piecing an alternate narrative, at the same time ordering things in their proper places, a compulsion for organization which belies her background as a graphic designer who aims for legibility foremost than meaningless style.

We are given these diverse presentations and formats and concerns by these 4 artists that any discussion about the F thing can now readily be glossed over, but not readily and necessarily so I’m afraid. So yeah, let’s bring it on and let it all hang loose, all those F things and all those Hairy things related to that F thing.

But honestly I still prefer waxed and lasered.
and Valie Export may probably need to be lasered too.

Text by Lena Cobangbang