Candice Lin at Francois Ghebaly
Twice I saw your show, It Makes the Patient See Pictures before it closed at Francois Ghebaly’s space. It was a profound experience each time and I think I recommended the show to everyone I know. The first time was early after the opening, on a Saturday in September. I was seduced by your hot and sexy humor, in the first room I found your silicon sculptural dildos hilarious (there is something delightful about imagining Brancusi’s Bird in Space, or an Africanized Queen Victoria engaged in such pleasure). Exploited Painting however, and The Lingering Smell, pointed me away from simplistic yuk-yuk jokes and toward something darker, less funny and more sad and, because I am white, harsher.
The second time I visited I was just angry. I watched the “pig” movie, I sat on the floor, near the pig’s ass, and stared at the small projection on the wall for three or four cycles of the film. It was horrifying. It was sad. Pigs are people, too, and they were being killed, oh fuck, just like people, in this case black people. Part of the strength of this work for me is the unavoidable directness of your metaphor, you show no fear in being reductive.
Honestly Candice, I have been and am intimidated to write about your show. When I began to make notes in the gallery my sentences grew longer and more tortured and my language soared on the gossamer wings of literary fluff, or of my literary pretensions. I drew back, alarmed at my foolishness and at the lack of connection my words had to anything of yours in the space.
In an idle way I wonder how many of the fetish objects in your show you made yourself, the twisted root penises and difficult to identify organic matter vagina, they all seem fingered, you will excuse my pun, lovingly and with care and you present them in a way that makes me think how subjective are the sciences of anthropology and ethnography and archaeology, and how subject to our earthy desires. I suppose if we’re lucky we bring an awareness of this to our reading in these subjects, and if one is a scientist it would be well to recognize how in the way you are, and your parts are, to any pretense of objectivity.
What I felt strongly from your show, and this may be a coincidence of our place in time and the US calendar, is how very white-centric much accepted knowledge remains, and how male-centric, and how self-serving is the de-racination of these sciences, and the de-sexualization also. Your description of the rites of early Christians and also of witches, in that time and since, makes me think that taking pleasure in the human body, when it is denied – as when the early church banned ball-sac shaped communion wafers, and that historically civilization has condemned and hunted the Wiccan, or base cults – it grows twisted and weird and it warps everything it subsequently touches; and pleasure touches a lot.
My recourse in similar situations of writing about exhibitions has been to return to what sticks with me; not to the ideas I formed in the space or in the time after, but to my record, unmediated by afterthought.
WHY DOES EVERYTHING BAD COME FROM AFRICA?
THE CAME ACROSS THE SEA WITH THE SPANISH, THEY HAD 500 YEARS TO ADAPT
(PINK PIGS PROBABLY EAT CORN)
DON’T USE PIG-IMPLIED LANGUAGE
HI-QUALITY AMERICAN PIGS
HATING WHITES DOESN’T MAKE YOU A RACIST
And now I am silenced, Candice. I can’t wait to see more of your work.
Candice Lin, It Makes the Patient See Pictures September 8 – October 27, 2012