Galerie Andriesse ~ Eyck, Amsterdam
March 16 – April 27, 2019
Five years ago, curator Karima Boudou Mzouar invited me to participate in the 5th Marrakesh Biennale. In email exchanges related to the main complex artisanale, or craft district, in Marrakesh, we discussed the possibility of a site-specific installation that would take place there. The exhibition never took place—funding collapsed and all the satellite projects were canceled— but a mistaken, literal translation of complex artisanale into English stayed with me and intrigued me. Where the French term identifies a space in which craft labor take place, in English the phrase “artisanal complex” sounds more like a psychological condition about craftsmanship in which a related group of emotionally significant ideas are completely or partly repressed, causing psychic conflict and leading to abnormal mental states or behavior. In politics, a politician who claims to have misspoken is often seen as having inadvertently stated the truth. Such was the case with my translation of complex artisanale, which seemed like a good idea for an exhibition.
My fifth exhibition with Zsa Zsa Eyck in Amsterdam celebrates this misunderstanding. On the one hand the gallery show is the site of commerce, a shop where products can be purchased; on the other hand it is a place to (psycho)analyze my “artisanal complex:” my irrepressible need to be ingenious, to make things to the best of my ability and offer them for sale.