Magenta Plains is thrilled to present Skip Zone, an exhibition with three international, emerging artists: Tiril Hasselknippe (b. 1984, Arendal, Norway), Sandra Mujinga (b.1989, Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Kah Bee Chow (b. 1980, Penang, Malaysia). The artists, who met at the Malmö Art Academy, have developed a rich and enduring artistic dialogue that has expressed itself in their individual practices.
Upstairs in the main gallery, Tiril Hasselknippe presents a site-specific installation with a functional, short-wave radio tower and a radio program that is a collaborative work between all three artists in the exhibition. Previously employing architectural motifs such as balconies and buttresses, her sculpture is rooted in a material and textual world that balances deeply personal exploration with sociopolitical underpinnings—at times seeming to participate in parts of a post-apocalyptic storyline. A continuation of Hasselknippe’s survival station at the Kunstverein Braunschweig in Germany, this presentation includes three works in the shape of a “divan” arranged in a protective horseshoe formation— traces of a communal settlement. The divan is a surrogate—a stand-in for existence, the joining of body and object, an archaeology of devotion—while the short-wave radio tower acts as a remnant from the trial and errors of a communication system.
Throughout the exhibition, the sound program of music, readings, and interviews will be projected within the gallery as an invitation to anyone who has been “othered” as well as extending the invitation to alien species in the tradition of authors Octavia Butler, Ursula K. Le Guin and Liu Cixin. In Hasselknippe’s attempt to challenge power structures she utilizes the tools of science/speculative fiction to propose solutions of coexistence.
Downstairs, Sandra Mujinga presents a new video installation, Catching Up. Working with three women who share both natural and scripted personal compliments with one another, Mujinga addresses how self-representation is performed in digital media. The subjects in her work are split, full of contradictions, and polymorphous—leaning towards becoming digital objects. Wearing sculptural garments which have been crafted by the artist, the women recline within a screensaver-like environment, creating a plane of constant movement amongst a technological landscape. Mujinga also presents two wearable sculptures, Shawl (Elephant Ears) #5, and Octo Handbag which continue her interest in the performative possibilities of fabrics and their in-between state. Her intimate, existential meditations in both her video and sculptural work focus on both digital and material processing, layering through the application of surfaces and skins, and the human element of online interaction.
Kah Bee Chow’s work draws from etymologies relating to animals, bodies, and forms of protection and support. For her work in Skip Zone at 95 Orchard Street, Chow re-imagines the window space as an eatery with forms and elements of protective architecture: nail, shell, and armor relating to the Chinese character “甲” —or “jiǎ”—a pictograph of a single plate of armor. “甲” also refers to the turtle shells used in the ancient divination process which involved the earliest-known form of Chinese writing: the Oracle bone script. Downstairs, curved aluminum sheets have handles like riot shields. Wax domes glow pale shades of blue, vaguely shell or turtle-like. In this site-specific installation, Chow imagines a conduit through time between the terrestrial and beyond, everyday and the afterlife.