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Exhibition organized with the kind support of the Cultural Mission of Luxembourg in France and the Cité Internationale des Arts
footprints to fingertips
21/11/2019 - 21/12/2019
opening Thursday 21/11/2019, 6 pm
Raw, solid, liquid, molten, fired, colourful, minimalist, abstract, evocative... materials in all their states are central to Vera Kox’s sculptural work. Interested in their modes of material existence and transformation, she reveals their transitory, ephemeral and fragmentary nature by recycling, deforming and recomposing them.
In her solo exhibition footprints to fingertips at 22,48 m² in Paris, the Luxembourger-German artist currently in residence at the Cité internationale des arts presents a selection of site-specific installations based on her current research. Inspired by Brancusi’s ‘mobile group’ – the idea of an inseparable and interdependant group of sculptures – Vera Kox combines various fragments to create a whole, each exhibition giving her the opportunity to rethink and reformulate the placement of her pieces like an alphabet or a script in progress. This yields an ambiguous and evocative physicality borrowed from meticulously selected mass-produced items and building materials: plaster puddles, packaging material, bubble wrap, rolls of insulation foam, aluminium casts of instant noodles and rice cakes, anti-slip mats and even hair extensions. Her works, composed of all these materials, are juxtaposed in as many combinations, their changes of state orchestrated as a coherent whole.
Vera Kox uses the mobility or even fluidity of these dialogues between the artificiality, utility and realism of the objects to affirm the vibrant and continually changing nature of her sculptures. Similar to artificial extensions woven into or clipped onto hair, her sculptures become extensions of themselves, standing in contrast to the stagnancy and monumentality inherent to this medium. While these spatial experiments infuse life into assemblages that take shape via encounters, chance meetings, friction between materials, textures and colours, their shapes are defined by a balance of improvisation and skilful control. Mostly floor-based, the various pieces interfere with and react to each other within the limits of the exhibition space, forming a landscape that is both imaginary and entropic.
In Vera Kox’s practice, the formal alliances and chemical alloys prioritise materials that must seek their shape and texture. She highlights the divergences between form, material and texture, notably by using a vibrant, somewhat playful colour palette one wouldn’t directly associate with the earthy material of clay, as well as surface textures that contrast with the raw materials used. In some of her ceramic works, Vera Kox applies complementary colours to the raw clay before it is fired, fostering an optical vibration that disrupts our immediate comprehension of the material. Simultaneously grating upon and enticing our perception, it makes us want to touch what we see. Haptic perception literally means the ability to grasp something. In this case, it involves an active exploration of surfaces and objects by an active, moving viewer.
With visual lures, and even gustatory ones when food-related elements appear in the assemblages, Vera Kox's works invite us to draw upon all of our senses to consider their nutritional and energetic potential; like living organisms, these sculptural installations seem to literally eat. Her works seem alive, as if animated by a life force. In challenging our ways of living or functioning, these new organic and inorganic physicalities manipulated and agglomerated by Vera Kox seem to anticipate the impacts of our human activities, presenting relics and traces of our passing as if between brackets.