ON TYPING A LETTER WITH IMAGES OF EMOTION
By ROBERT C. MORGAN March, 2019
The artist’s name is Evelyne Huet . She is French, lives in Paris, and studied mathematics before jumping into art. I knew nothing about her prior to seeing this exhibition. The images are, in fact, 21 digital paintings. The title of her show is simply called “Dear Humans.” One might easily conjure this exhibition as a letter of sorts. She uses a computer keyboard in all her work as she guides her way toward human emotions. Here we might catch a face, part of a head, a limb, a phallus, or a portion of a hairy torso twisted off-center, a raucous knee-bend, the aftermath of cunning despair
The sexual pronouncement is present in the magnificent Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, challenging the reader to see what is in store. The narrative does not stop in a single place. The images do not recline. They jump out at you, if you allow this to happen. Does Huet give us a choice? Are we allowed to linger within the realm of doubt or agitate through the exercise of pure mischief?
I find these images remarkably convoluted at times, purposefully indulgent in their demeanor. They are oblique, less desiring than antipodal, pointing in the direction of their opposites or their exact opposition. In this sense, they are difficult to describe or discern from one another. Fly Me Away, a pinkish torso or head with two complex systemic binders that run across the upper chest with another coiled like a bracelet that might read modestly as a decorative torture device near the base. What does it mean? What is its opposite? The trans-substantial nuances break through into another world? Compare this to another image referendum called The Innocents. Still, a single head, maybe held above a waist-coat. One really does not know? Only the battered expression on the face is imminent. There is not doubt. The eyes are set in boredom or ultra-fatigue. Too much space-flight, which suggests the true nature of where these characterless characters belong, where they should recline in order that they might rekindle the stench of planet Earth.
Suddenly another personification with raw emotion comes forth, another torso/head – and this is a wary one – Envious Thoughts. What castes a pilgrimage of doubt over this lassitudinal figure? The eyes and nose are seemingly etched and laminated against a male torso. Male, for certain, it seems, as we continue over to another stark reddish face, titled Worried Thoughts, defying its hooligan phallic nose. What does it mean to become envious and/or worried in the months preceding the calamitous look of sameness anointed through dismemberment and given to us all by AI? There are no answers yet, because the questions are still unknown, still burgeoning, going deeper into more stench.
How or where does one travel next? The emotions in this letter are pitiless, never quite neutral, despite occasional tedium. The title does not match The Jaguar’s Dream. It reads but does not salivate. It goes inward into columns of paper, interceded with purple light. What holds back this Jaguar’s penchant for dreaming? Huet is not going to tell. Rather she creates a system of anticipation that may both whither and arouse our curiosity or levy it back in such a way that it falls flat! As visitors to this exhibition, we are put in the position of doubt. longing for a horse and carriage or something a bit more versatile to take us away.
But the artist does not give in? There is a certain assiduousness to get the rector set built by employing the necessary tools to build it. This is what keeps us in suspense, and what appears to satisfy the denouement of her splendid drama, a captioned drama to be sure that pulls the first draft of her letter toward a close, perhaps with a bleaker sequence of images than most would have thought. Yet she is definitely on the trail of extending emotional reality back to and into the keyboard, as she reveals once again a weakening classical outlet, pulled from biblical myths that have already run the course, yet once again are agitating, getting ready, to seek replacements. WM
Robert C. Morgan is an educator, art historian, critic, poet, and artist. Knowledgeable in the history and aesthetics of both Western and Asian art, Morgan has lectured widely, written hundreds of critical essays (translated into twenty languages), published monographs and books, and curated numerous exhibitions. He has written reviews for Art in America, Arts, Art News, Art Press(Paris), Sculpture Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, and Hyperallergic. His catalog essays have been published by Gagosian, Pace, Sperone Westwater, Van Doren Waxter, White Cube (London), Kukje (Seoul), Malingue (Hong Kong), and Ink Studio (Beijing). Since 2010, he has been New York Editor for Asian Art News and World Sculpture News, both published in Hong Kong. He teaches in the Graduate Fine Arts Program at Pratt Institute as an Adjunct Professor and at the School of Visual Arts.
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