Alex Reding, CEO Luxembourg Art Week S.A., Stand Nosbaum Reding, Luxembourg Art Week, 2016. // Copyright: Eric Chenal
People With Vaginas
Nosbaum Reding, Luxembourg, 2018
‘People With Vaginas’, printed in pink letters on stickers, is the title of the second exhibition by Aline Bouvy at Nosbaum Reding Gallery. The starting point for this project was a designation of the female sex appearing in an article on the design of speculums and other gynaecological tools made from soft materials as alternatives to the metallic coldness of the obstetric leg separator.(1) The new designs are reminiscent of sex toys or the nipples for animals the artist inserts in her white earthenware pizzas suspended on giant trays.
Human organs are incorporated into her pizza toppings among vegetables and sausages. Food and intestines mix with the other elements of the exhibition, which revolve around eating each other, as suggested by the photograph of the anti-cannibalism spray that the artist associates with anti-capitalism, the subtext of this exhibition around bowels. A scavenging animal such as the rat, the main character of the show, becomes endearing through its humanisation, despite embodying our unconscious fear of attacks from below. The pizzas are body parts and the rats are sophisticated humans, in the manner of fables that use animals as human metaphors. Anthropomorphism and cannibalism are called upon to dissect our relationships to each other and to the body, between attraction and repulsion, between ‘I love you’ and ‘I eat you’.
Rats survive on the bins of humanity. Pigs are suspected of cannibalism when coerced into intensive farm life. We eat ourselves. Mad-cow powder. Everything is simultaneously black and white, deep and superficial. Colour is reserved for the representation of the supporting structures in fake wood and false brick, the whole scenery appearing on the backdrop of a landscape painted al fresco. Being in a dream and present at once. A ubiquitous elsewhere that exists in our heads and our dysfunctional generic bodies. A delusion of consumption that leads to eroticisation, to industrial craving. A play with images that mirror (speculum) each other, as imagined by Claes Oldenburg in the 1960s with his window displays of fake food. Here, the transparency of the supporting material responds to the opacity of the black wall: black humour as the only way out of despairing capitalism? And running through it all, a total creativity of mutant rather than despairing characters.
(1) Rose George, ‘How to redesign the vaginal speculum’, The Guardian, 23 April 2018. Aline Bouvy’s (LU, °1974) multidisciplinary practice is a way of expressing her refusal to compromise and adapt to systems in our society which aim to regulate our longing, conforming it to the norms and values which shape that same society. Bouvy questions and denounces how the images we have of ourselves and of humanity are determined by this morality. Generally speaking, she looks at how we handle contemporary cultural production and takes a stand against norms and values society imposes upon us. Because of this, she is attracted to the non-conventional — not to fetishize elements from the margins of society, but from a wish to normalize what is considered out-of-bounds, and thereby to adjust the prevailing morality.
Aline Bouvy has graduated from ERG, Brussels and from Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht. After many years of collaborative artistic activities, she started a personal career in 2013. Aline Bouvy has recently exhibited at Loggia (Munich, 2018), CIAP (Hasselt, 2017), Motel (New York, 2016), Exo Exo (Paris, 2015), Espace Arts Plastiques Madeleine Lambert (Vénissieux, cat., 2014), and NICC (Brussels, 2013). She has also participated in numerous group shows in international art centres, museums, institutions, galleries, among others Domaine Pommery (Reims, September 2018), Mélange (Cologne, 2018), Musée national d’histoire et d’art (Luxembourg, 2016); Kunstraum (London, 2015); Le Confort Moderne (Poitiers, 2014), … Aline Bouvy developed various projects in public spaces.