The performance “’Be the Inside of the Vase” was divided into two parts. The first story began with my dad’s attempt to commit suicide. The performance revealed my uneasy childhood and difficult relationship with my father. I was still and silent whist my voice revealed the narrative using a pre-recorded audio. In the second performance the story moves towards my relationship with my mother. Through a rather brutal personal history I addressed sexually political statements: From my father: “Women should be like vase, smooth, decorative and empty inside! ” From my mother: “ Don’t be a vase, pretty but empty inside, be the inside, be the quality!” From myself: “This is my voice, my story, my childhood, I am not a vase! .”
Beauty is a treasured thing in our culture, and Turkish artist Merve Morkoç, aka Lakor mis, turns this ideal on its head. At first glance their paintings are of seemingly young, glowing-skinned models, but a longer gaze reveals that these subjects all have something seriously wrong with them. Coupled with their well-coiffed hair are fantastical disfigurations that you’d see in a horror film. Warped eyelids, caved in faces, and rashes exist on these young women.
Any sort of pleasant response you initially had is probably gone, and the works are like a train wreck that you can’t look away from. The strange details are intriguing, and it speaks to Morkoç’s expert handling of the medium that they are easily able to fool us into thinking something that’s repulsive is actually beautiful.
You might notice that English painter Agnes Toth’s work looks incomplete. Although logic entices us to notice the missing links, Toth’s techinque aspires to find the threshold between abstract and figurative painting. Her colorful, intentionally half-finished, realistic paintings are the result.
Toth began to create these incomplete paintings in 2008. This method gave her a sense of freedom — the possibility to not feel obligated to fill in the canvas from one corner to the other. The incompleteness of her work also derives from her life philosophy, one that aims towards working and living at a slower pace. “This is what I aim to achieve with my paintings,” she says, “to get back to that harmony and contemplation, to celebrate beauty and serenity.” For Toth, one of the purposes of painting is a meditation exercise, one that requires full concentration on her creative intentions.
In a sense, her pieces provide the viewer with the possibility to become more contemplative. In trying to take everything in, we get lost in the various colorful, fragmented pieces in the hope of somehow putting it all back together.