“Three Moral Tales”
review by Christine Antaya.
published on 16 Jul 2019 in Artforum International
“Three Moral Tales”
St Johannesgatan 7
June 15–August 25, 2019
The Malmö Konsthall is filled to the brim yet doesn’t seem crowded. This is due in part to the lightness of the materials favored by Joëlle de La Casinière, Ana Jotta, and Anne- Mie van Kerckhoven, whose uses of textile and paper are tied to portability and thrift, immediacy and language. De La Casinière’s “Tablotins,” 1964–2014, is a feat of endurance—the ongoing series comprises more than one hundred collages, made over the span of five decades, and are arranged here in no particular order. Manhattan Map, 1972, is just that, overlaid with clippings. A poem typed in French reveals an addressee; such traces of intimacy recur throughout. Uses of symbols and signs make parts potentially opaque, yet the political edge aimed at consumer culture and violence is unambiguous. Jotta’s striking line drawings in bleach on the tapestry-like Fala-só (Soliloquy), 2017, and her discrete cartoons, derived from George Herriman’s Krazy Kat, suspended on cardboard disks reflect an irreverent and humorous critique of art- world hierarchies, rendered with a light touch, as does the recurring letter J, embroidered on a stained wool blanket in Calendar, 2019.
What comes across as the joining theme of the exhibition, curated by François Piron, is an economy of means, not of effort. Since the mid-1970s, van Kerckhoven—with her flair for underground aesthetics and interest in the female body in prints, drawings, and paintings—has honed a practice less about lyricism through careful accumulation than about pulling apart representational modes. Though these sustained careers merit critical attention, what registers overall is how traditional concerns of chronology and development seem minor in the face of prolonged attention. The moral of the tale: With the accelerating conflation of person and market today, an adherence to the self requires an emphasis on the individual’s indelible and perpetual link to the social.
Related group exhibitions: Three Moral Tales