JUNE 12 – JULY 17, 2015
RECEPTION: FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2015 AT 8 PM
CO FUSION LAB is ritual androgyny and optical illusion. It is love, magic and new forms of communication, contained within walls covered in hand painted patterns. It is an altar for selfinquisition, unity and confusion; a numinous palace to try on identities, become other, dissolve, and begin the cycle again. Our physical forms race against impossible competitors – the internet selves – which have a higher rate of accessibility and changeover. The body is too slow for this age, yet forever connected to an ancient, unconscious territory with stories that will always find the way out.
JACK BRIDE and HOLLY TIMPENER began collaborating as HOLY JÅCKÅL in 2013 to explore ways of fusing their installation and performance practices. Their collective, artistic lexicon includes creating strange identities, diffusing persona, representing intangible forces and promoting public intimacy.
NOT THE ONES WHO CAME BEFORE
I can’t help but stand in awe of those that precede me in mapping the territory of identity and art. I don’t want to put the screws on too tight, or too early, but HOLY JÅCKÅL is wild, and there is something due to them, and others in the category of interstellar prophets. In this iteration of collaboration between Jack Bride and Holly Timpener, the work is an amalgam of ritual and rigorous testing: of the artists’ selves and the audience’s relationship towards non-binary acts of identification.
It is cutting a path for the viewer. Leading me into an indescribable space, a place to owe as much as I can say and more than I can express, to HOLY JÅCKÅL’s voyage through societal morass. Keeping that ever-important representational brick in the doorway to queer spaces within contemporary art. Practices concerning issues of gender and identity spread ideas for our benefit and invite forthcoming questions. The fact that this performance is occurring adjacent to the exhibition HEART OF LONGING by Manwoman, an artist known for his attempts to resuscitate the sacred in the swastika and for addressing the boundaries of normality, gives my waking life an unfamiliar dreamlike quality. This exhibition is important and I’m honoured to be textually associated.
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In a crisscross installation/performance, the artists are creating a space of inclusiveness and the outreach is clear: as these two form and dissolve their expressions of identity, you are invited to do so as well. The hand-made is visible here as the artist’s touch engulfs the space, and in turn they adorn themselves in new ways of being. The importance of defusing misconceptions of gender and the wild, unquantifiable effort of making clear an integral aspect of being human: that rift between inside and out. HOLY JÅCKÅL’s exhibition seeks to make a course correction.
I myself have been a person of increasingly tumultuous change. At the time of writing this, my life is wracked with needs and wants in reference to my gender and the non-DNA makeup of what makes me who I am. To find a sense of community, to gain access to peer-ship, and to cloak myself in the rituals of gender expression, while trying to feel whole is something I have come to know achingly well. Confrontation of the normalized is a constant struggle. HOLY JÅCKÅL is committed to this act of place-making, and making public the intimacy of these moments, welcoming you to participate in an act of love.
This work is the reclamation of gestures, of bodies, and of the physical fabrics involved in presenting ones self in their truest form. I access the work from my own navigation around the chasms and pitfalls of being a politicized body, a body prone to crossing gender gaps is, at times, one of exclusion. There is also universality present in this liminal space. It is jarring, no doubt, for all onlookers, the actions and naked searching seemingly erratic but with a profound purpose of self-understanding as the underpinning. Externalizing these processes produces wonderment.
There is something beautiful about making these rituals evident. In the past HOLY JÅCKÅL’s work was concerned with the nature of two parts of a whole, and an intense search for ways of knowing. From a bisected facial reconfiguration, to a mystical act of astral overlap, this sharing has become the methodological bedrock for CO FUSION LAB as the artists move into a space of contemplative exchange. The interest in the intersection of becoming a singular entity draw upon the legacy of Genesis P-Orridge and Lady Jaye’s exploits of body modification and performed identity, their surgical transformative process documented in the 2012 film ‘The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye’. There is a hunger for understanding driving performances such as HOLY JÅCKÅL’s and motivating us to get into the skin of the other.
The hand painted and patterned walls create a fracture between the rigidity of the white cube and the consistent heteronormativity of the everyday. CO FUSION LAB provides a new zone of constantly forming and dissolving structures. To reference reclamation once more, the gallery space is co-opted, and the artists move freely in and out of their own, jagged, fluctuating space into the certainty of the gallery floor. This result is an arrest of the mental navigation of the gallery. The oscillation between black and white is vibrational, fractious, with mirrors powerfully grounding a visual shock and awe that is capable of mitigating issues of body image. At times this momentarily convalesces into an uncompromising structure, only then to engage in an anti-framing of the artists as they go through the impromptu ritual after ritual. HOLY JÅCKÅL wishes to push beyond the common context and bring the audience with them. This is singularity and the audience presence is required.
The ritual aspects of CO FUSION LAB are encapsulating self-discovery, to view the instance as occurrence rather than as a miracle. This is perhaps where the lab comes in, a sort of duplication to understand, to learn and to make commonplace the universe of love as conceptualized by the artists. The disarmament of impeding nature and of self-understanding, the removal of obstacles, internal and external, societal and self imposed. The response to give these processes a physical presence on a platform that engages the audience is nothing short of vital.
 The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye. Dir. Marie Losier. Perf. Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge, Genesis P-Orridge. ADOPT FILMS, 2012. DVD.
MAY G N is a queer artist based in Alberta. A graduate from the Alberta College of Art + Design, May has shown work with TRUCK and is a founding member of HORSE collective, as well as operating in several small press poetic zines and chap-books.