A Tale of a Tub is pleased to present Cutting Leaves for the Dogs, an exhibition featuring artists enrolled in the first year of the Master of Fine Art program at the Piet Zwart Institute. With this collaboration, A Tale of a Tub pro-actively promotes and contributes to the development of young artists’ practices in addition to its ongoing program of curated exhibitions, performances, and talks.
Niels Bekkema, Clara J:son Borg, Madison Bycroft, Raluca Croitoru, Seecum Cheung, Mat Do, Michael FitzGerald, Daniel Fogarty, Tracy Hanna, Mitchell Kehe, Katherine MacBride, Kari Robertson, Natalia Sorzano, Angharad Williams, and Pickle Street.
They face off in the room. He looks into her eyes and she looks into his. She sees him looking at her looking at him looking at her looking at him looking at her and she feels self-conscious so focuses on the detail. The brown that pretends to be black and the nostril that pretends to be still. She tries not to blink, but it’s hard work. She blinks.
She tries to maintain the kind of eye contact you might have when your eyeballs don’t actually touch. But with or without contact, the in-between-ness remains, even if it is only as membranous liquid or coagulated tears or the crust that separates wet from dry. The space between prevails with an unknown exchange rate. She wonders how long they would have to touch before they would conglomerate… or was the still, stale air of judgment and opinion already mattering between them.
She looks again, imagining a bird’s eye view and a hind sight too. She tries to allow the image to surprise her: tiny hairs and the space behind the ears and the eyelid twitch and the nervous tick.
Is this what an encounter feels like? I try to find words to say but this moment escapes language. Are you, too, intoxicated with life? It all rises viscously around us, like an ocean storm and meaty tiptoes and a packet of midnight howls. Are we feeling something together? Are we becoming something and then meaning something and then all the magic sensations in our bodily pits … We dance on the threshold of a primal immediacy, and weigh each other against the wild and untamed. A half sunken waltz to an ensemble of smells, crystallizing endlessly between offering and protecting ourselves.
Still I wonder if my vision is stubbornly dogged, or worse, dogmatic. Tell me if I am seeing you or just an actor performing the real you.
What does he stand for? What have I made him stand for? He sits but his size is not reduced… broad shoulders and square jaw.
I want to sing to him but he stands. And lifts a leg. In lieu of mine, he is suddenly estranged from this romantic fiction. He flees with his fleas and his nervous tick too. A diagonal escape into his own self-referential future, going blind, making me invisible as he madly gnaws at his own tale.
His trace is brutal, and yet the space has shifted. And in the end, making art and meeting a dog can be much the same thing.
– Text by Madison Bycroft. Special thanks to Katarina Zdjelar and Petra van der Kooij.
The Piet Zwart Institute, which is part of the Willem de Kooning Academy and Hogeschool Rotterdam, has four Master courses: Fine Art, Interior Architecture and Retail Design, Media Design & Communication, and Art Education. All are founded on a shared interest in the complex social, cultural and political underpinnings of each discipline. Through a uniquely tailored curriculum combining collective learning, individual tutorial attention, practice-based research and theoretical enquiry, our courses educate professionals who have a critically reflective, innovative, questioning, and imaginative approach to their work.
For more information about the Piet Zwart Institute click here.