Show Personality, Not Personal Items
Leda Bourgogne, Nora Turato, Evelyn Taocheng Wang
28 January – 1 April 2018
Curator: Roos Gortzak
Consider this our invitation to you to join us for the opening of the group exhibition Show Personality, Not Personal Items at Vleeshal, Middelburg. Leda Bourgogne, Nora Turato and Evelyn Taocheng Wang will present new and recent works, in which they move between the body and the psyche, while examining power relations, structures of desire and societal norms.
You asked me whether nudity is powerful. It is not necessarily empowering. Frankly I’m embarrassed to have a body. This afternoon, a man came in at the massage salon for a “Happy Ending”. He walked to the reception very quickly: ' I don’t have time. I only have 15 minutes. I’m a body builder and personal trainer over there, my student is waiting!' Tracy said: ' Sir, 15 minutes is too short to enjoy a nice massage' . I entered my booth, he was lying there completely naked. The flesh is what we are, narcoleptics too. I need love, but feel sick from cold white food.
Vleeshal and Leda Bourgogne, Nora Turato, Evelyn Taocheng Wang
Show Personality, Not Personal Items took its title from Nora Turato’s 2017 performance. These five words were lifted out of their original context to take on a new role – as the title for this show, which brought together three artists with similar interests and different voices. The second paragraph of the invitation text for the opening featured above is a compilation of their voices, which can be recognized when familiar with their respective practices.
The practice of Leda Bourgogne is informed by a wide range of influences, such as feminist theory, psycho-analysis, modernism, experimental film, literature and pop culture. Moving between the autobiographical and the fictional, Bourgogne designs worlds from a feminine interior perspective of her protagonists. She creates a poetic terrain that simultaneously reflects on the fluidity between drawing, painting, video, and text, and renounces any hierarchy potentially assumed between them. Her works question gender identities and refer to Gilles Deleuze’s theory of the body without organs, allowing for pluralism and heterogeneity.
The performances of Nora Turato are scripted pieces developed through the artist’s omnivorous reading habits that browses through various cultural outlets from literature to Instagram comments and marketing jingles. Turato’s delivery is rapid and one can easily miss a sentence of more depending on one’s attention span, interest, and ability to follow the narrative. As such, the audience catches different lines of the piece and remembers their own sentences, not unsimilar to Turato’s own writing process. Turato’s background in graphic design and its recuperation of language in the service of marketing, lets her swiftly move from high-theory to romcom.*
Evelyn Taocheng Wang had been active as a painter in China for some time before continuing her path at the Städelschule in Frankfurt and De Ateliers in Amsterdam. Her paintings, films and performances derive from her personal life in China and the Netherlands and combine a straightforward and at times confrontational tone with emotional, poetic and autobiographical undercurrents. Through her diverse practice, she addresses fixed notions of identity, sexuality, gender roles, ethnicity and socio-economic backgrounds.
*A shortened version of a text on Nora Turato by Sohrab Mohebbi.
Behind the scenes
This project was made possible by the generous support of the Mondriaan Fund and the municipality of Middelburg.