THE SPINARIO – JOHAN MUYLE
Yoko Uhoda Gallery Zeedijk 723 – Het Zoute 8300 Knokke-Heist
16-12-2017 > 14-01-2018
OPENING: 16-12-2017 – 4PM > 7 PM
We are living in an age of “cultural tectonics”, characterized by overlaps and friction, by a “stacking” of modes of thought, ways of life, references and origins. In the face of these jostling allegiances, but also the international rise of identitarian and communitarian movements, how might I emphasize a relationship with humanity and thought within an artistic practice?
In exploring a reality beyond immediate personal experience, while respecting difference, I seek a common denominator among humans, a rallying perspective, with a social resonance and an intuitive understanding of the world based on images of the group. My creative impulse is not found in plastering intellect onto life, but in life which overwhelms intellect: in my practice, it is a human rather than a visual resonance which I seek, which is why I work in places of interaction between individuals. There are liminal spaces within my various activities, moments of passing from one state into another: that is where connections are forged, to find a sense of balance and an order of language in my own chaos, my digressions into anecdote, memory or desire.
The search for the right distance is just as important when it comes to remoteness in time as remoteness in space. Journeys (first and foremost my stays in Kinshasa), have been hugely important in the development of my work. I wanted to shed my armchair humanism. These experiences drove home the essential notion that the world, always, must be understood from a variety of perspectives at once. This realization is an opportunity to contextualize our relationship to History, because there are an infinity, a multiplicity of Histories: that may seem naive, but certain obvious truths must first be felt intimately and directly before becoming activated.
Within the framework of this line of thought, the work of Oswald de Andrade and Édouard Glissant had a decisive impact on the development of my perception of different cultures.
While I distance myself from the concept of cannibalism in Oswald de Andrade’s manifesto, in his evocation of “barbarism”, the idea of a mix of cultures is essential to me. As a child, I experienced this mix of cultures day to day, when l was living in Charleroi, and I continue to experience it today.
We know that it has now become impossible to speak about the other from the perspective of a fixed identity, even for those attempting to hold on to their past, their ethnicity or their clan; both the oppressors and the oppressed bear responsibility for their acts and the development of events: oppression is unacceptable, as is a lack of resistance. I am closest to Édouard Glissant, when he exposes, in the Traité du Tout-Monde (Treatise on the Whole World), how “fixed identities” have become damaging to contemporary humans, who evolve within a “chaos-world” and live in “creolized” societies. My perspective on identities, like my relationship to the other, evolves in the direction of a personality in motion, creative, fragile, integrating flaws and fissures: speaking without certainty, speaking with doubt.
To my mind, and in my practice, these terms and concepts – the mix, the rhizome identity so prized by Deleuze, active doubt, the unpredictable, the surge, the drift – are key. They enable me to speak of the human condition while remaining anchored in a present which has been complicated by the disappearance of utopias, the radicalization of religions and the rise of communitarian politics. Collecting objects which can be re-used, bringing them back from journeys, or ordering them over the internet, writing aphorisms, making assemblages or installations is my way of commenting on the state of the world.
Extract taken from: ‘Heureusement que la pensée est muette’ (Lucky that thought is mute) – writing / stories by Johan Muyle – preface by Dominique Païni – éditions LE GAC PRESS France © LE GAC PRESS – Johan Muyle – Dominique Païni – Legal depot: January 2014 – All rights reserved – ISBN : 978-2-36409-049-1