we are craving a certain unattainable density in emotions
subtle gestures that suggest something complex and vague
I will kiss you everywhere and recklessly (1)
In Plato’s Phaedrus, the Egyptian god Theuth offers King Thamus writing as a remedy, claiming that it can be a tool to help memory. Thamus refuses the gift on the grounds that it will only create forgetfulness – for him, writing is not a remedy for memory itself, but merely a way of reminding. Writing is thus a poison. Plato calls this phenomenon of something that simultaneously acts as both a poison and a cure a pharmakon. In essence, the pharmakon is about sacrifice: King Thamus decides to write so that his power can circulate beyond his physical presence. But in writing, the sovereign body disseminates itself and thus surrenders to a loss of control. (2)
As loving subjects, we tell ourselves sacrificial stories all the time: we are nowhere gathered together (3), and scramble to make sense of subtle gestures, decipher what’s behind late night text messages, and decode the rhythms of affection. The methods are diverse: find a fictional character that’s going through exactly the same thing, sing along to the pop song that just gets you, or carefully study astrological compatibility charts. When it comes to attracting the object of desire, we attempt to conjure our own magic: wear perfume, keep little secrets, create an air of mystery. These words and gestures are borrowed, as we have been repeating the same myths for centuries. And yet, they feel unique, giving us the precise affirmation we need for our solitary devotion. Like a pharmakon, these carefully measured rituals offer the momentary fix of being in control, while simultaneously exposing our fundamental dependence on such supplements.
‘The fiction of the fix’ brings together artists that share a concern with the rituals of the everyday, and how language, voice, and myth can become physical in their potency to attract. The works unabashedly devote themselves to a cause we can’t quite put our fingers on, allowing us to project our own obsessions. As they straddle the common and the supernatural, we are invited to give into superstition, exaggeration, and the cliché: discover the antidote in your own kitchen, and break the curse with your own two hands. (4)
1 Mira Gonzalez, from i will never be beautiful enough to make us beautiful together, 2014
2 Michael A. Rinella, Pharmakon: Plato, Drug Culture, and Identity in Ancient Athens, 2012
3 Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments, 1977
4 Adapted from Beyoncé Knowles, ‘All Night’, from album Lemonade, 2016
Lynne Kouassi works across various media such as installations, instructed performances and artist books. By bringing intimate feelings and formal precision together, she explores the relationship of proximity and formality and strives for the cultivation of sensitivity. She graduated with a BA with distinction in Fine Art from the University of the Arts Zurich CH in 2015 and is currently completing her MFA Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London UK.
Recent exhibitions include ‘A Physical Thing’, Studio Naim, Tel Aviv IL (2017); ‘a love affair’, The apartment series ♯2, Zurich CH (2017); ‘monoCHROMA: Black and White Issue’, The Crypt Gallery, London UK (2016); ‘Aufgeweckte Kunstgeschichten’, Kunsthaus Zürich in collaboration with Universitätsspital Zürich CH (2015).
Shana Moulton uses video, sculpture, and performance to create worlds at the threshold of absurdity and truth, catharsis and cliché, the material and the spiritual. Born in Oakhurst, California, Shana Moulton attended the University of California, Berkeley and continued to receive a MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. She has also studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and De Ateliers in Amsterdam NL. Moulton has been an artist in residence at Harvestworks, New York City and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and she has also received fellowships and grants from the Experimental Television Center, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and Harvestworks.
Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Outhouse Portal’, NICC, Brussels BE (2017); ‘Mood swings’, Crèvecoeur, Paris FR (2016); ‘Every Cell is a Bell’, Kunsthaus Glarus CH (2016); ‘Every now and then I fall apart’, The Green Parrot, Barcelona SP (2016); ‘Journeys out of the Body’, Museum of Fine Arts, St.Petersburg RU (2016); ‘Every Angle is an Angel’, Palais de Tokyo, Paris FR (2016); Gund Commons, MOCA, Cleveland US (2016); My life as an INFJ, Julius Caesar, Chicago US (2015); ‘Picture Puzzle Pattern Door’, The Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts, San Francisco US (2015); ‘The Rippled Self I know’, Galerie Gregor Staiger, ZurichArts, San Francisco US (2015).
Diana Policarpo is a visual artist based in London and Lisbon working with composition, sculpture, improvised performance and sound installation. Her practice investigates power relations, popular culture and gender politics, juxtaposing the rhythmic structuring of sound as a tactile material within the social construction of esoteric ideology. She graduated from Goldsmiths College with an MFA in Fine Art in 2013. She is the founder of Erinyes Collective, an art collective who creates live performances as well as listening sessions through a digital sound archive and network dedicated to art, feminism and technology.
Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Sun in Cancer’, lAb – Artists Unlimited, Bielefeld DE (2016); ‘Visions of Excess’, Xero, Kline & Coma, London (2015); ‘Beating Back Darkness’, Kunsthalle Baden-Baden DE (2014). ‘Chaotic Good: Crabhead / Collaborative Princess / Lumpy Oracle’, AAS, Gallery North, Newcastle UK (2016); ‘Pairing Down’, Peninsula Gallery, New York US (2015); ‘Gente Feliz com Lagrimas’, Walk & Talk Gallery, Azores, PT (2015); ‘Does Not Equal’, W139, Amsterdam NL (2015); ‘Mai Im Januar’, Shaun Fenster, Berlin DE (2015).
Theo Turpin explores ideas of narrative and myth being constructed and edited around us in real time, often with a special interest in romance and romanticism. He works with sparse compositions of juxtaposed material in many forms, from collage to photography and installation. He graduated with a BA in Drawing from Camberwell College of Art, London, in 2008, and is currently completing an MFA at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Recent exhibitions include ‘Sham Romance’ (Screening), Chalton Gallery, London (2016); It’s Not The Digging, It’s The Dirt, Dirt, for Art Licks Weekend, London (2016); ‘La Romantisme C’est La Revolution’, with Louis Henderson, Maison Baron, Geneva (2015); ‘La Methode Jacobson’, curated by Marc Bembekoff, Palais De Tokyo, Paris (2013).
Holly White is an artist living and working in London. Her work involves digital media, sculpture, text, performance and video and she is one half of music project Goth Tech. White graduated from an MA in Material and Visual Culture at UCL, London in 2014.
Recent solo and group exhibitions include: ‘Better Next Time’ (performance), How to Show Up, San Serriffe, Amsterdam (2017); Feral Kin, Auto Italia, London (2017); ‘I need your love is that true’, Jupiter Woods, London (2016); Miracle Marathon, Serpentine Galleries, London (2016); Project 1049, Gstaad, Switzerland (2016); Curators’ Series #9. Ways of Living, David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2016); ‘Is this living?’, The Approach, London (2016); I’m always lazy when I miss you, AND/OR, London (2015); ‘No One Is Going To Go There’, Evelyn Yard, London (2014); ‘Ocean Living’, with Megan Rooney, Arcadia Missa, London (2013).