In G.S.F.C. 2.0 (Geometrical Sci-Fi Cyborg), hard- edged geometries filled with solid colors converge with organic lines to create vaguely figurative forms. While these figures might possess an actual leg, they’re denied the legibility of a human framework by the rest of their “bodies,” which are comprised of airy geometries loosely tethered in a kinetic fashion. In the painting G.S.F.C. #2, the form appears to be almost squatting, or hopping, with knees spread wide. The sharply bent knee in G.S.F.C #5 lends the subject a rather balletic quality, while the geometries of G.S.F.C.
#1 (outlined with a thin halo of color) have evolved past identifiably human shapes to become playful assemblages of color. Add airbrushed landscapes in which Hanna-Barbera-like trees have ogling eyes—and it’s even harder to tell who’s becoming what or whom. “Why do all cyborgs have to have tits?” Ad Minoliti says to me, laughing. The young Buenos Aires-based artist is talking about the male cyber-dreams that fill pop culture sci-fi, from comic book heroines and mid-century science fiction book covers to characterizations as recent as Ava from Ex Machina (2014) or Scarlett Johansson’s “Major” from the 2017 remake of Ghost in the Shell. She’s talking about the cyborg fantasies dominated by metal “enhancements”—bodies “bettered” either because something’s left us mutated or traumatized, or because we’ve simply evolved to a more sophisticated state. “The whole idea of the show,” Minoliti says, evoking Donna Haraway’s 1985 “A Cyborg Manifesto,” “is to give a different point of view of sci-fi or speculative fiction; to take away all the borders of objects, animals, and humans.”
On ViewCherry And Martin
September 12 – November 4, 2017
But Minoliti’s creations are a far cry from ones where weird junkyard parts retrofit our figures for a dystopian world in which we’ve had to fill a loss; or ones where we’ve evolved to a transhumanist utopian state in which our better selves soar across cloud cities in sleek machines while hot robo-hunks and busty android babes walk the streets. With their suspended, contorted limbs and hovering geometries, Minoliti’s athletic, sometimes sexualized arrangements are more akin to figures coming undone, figures suspended in a state of transition, rather than bodies getting fitted for a post-apocalyptic world.
“Colors and shapes are such a non-rational way of thinking; I love that,” she says. “For me geometry is the best tool to talk about queer theory; or to try to represent entities that don’t belong to any variety.”
These entities get special treatment in Minoliti’s installation, especially in the “Geo Mutants,” wall paintings that make the human animal, the animal geometric, and the geometric sexual. Her Geo Mutants come in two forms: 1) light blue and green leg silhouettes with eyes embedded in the thighs or, 2) two large triangular and circular animals with hints of a face. The first Geo Mutant legs (2017) are attached to 2015 series of Case Study House Paintings, while another enormous set of legs with eyes converges at the corner in the back of the gallery, and the whole back room becomes definitively feminine and sexual. The other Geo Mutants loom large as humorous animalistic forms. One is a red pyramid with a mohawk, fish fin, eye, and slight opening for its mouth; the other, a light blue globe, has only a nose and two cat-like whiskers. It also has a made-to-scale chicken decal floating on top of its head.
“This,” she says referring to her show, is “not a human future;” it’s a “fantasy without humans,” by which she means without the “human preconceptions.”
While it’s impossible not to consider Minoliti’s work in the context of Haraway’s early “Cyborg Manifesto,” one might argue the artist’s work has even great- er resonance with Haraway’s more recent work in which she examines ideas of “companion species” and “making oddkin” (from Haraway’s 2017 Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene). As if to take up Haraway’s notion that we “require each other in unexpected collaborations and combinations,” Minoliti’s incredibly fresh fusions literally make unusual “kin.” As Haraway writes in her introduction to Staying with Trouble, “we become with each other or not at all.”
In fact, spend a little longer in the show and you have the sense that the entire show is an organism. A kind of system of watching emerges throughout the gallery, a system of which the viewer becomes a part (a further “unexpected collaboration or unusual “kin”). A new entity with eyes all over it—eyes in painted landscapes; eyes inside silhouetted legs painted directly in the wall; paintings with eyes perched on cushions on the ground watching a video by another artist, Zadie Xa. Or eyes watching us from inside a painting, as in G.S.F.C. #3, where all the elements converge to form a larger entity with two distinct eyes peering out. And of course, the airbrushed cartoon trees and plants with eyes—some promiscuous, others judgmental, others drugged out and languorous.
“We project fantasy onto shapes,” Minoliti says. “I like that thing of geometry; of representation. That representation is so obvious, that it’s finished in people’s eyes. You project your own fantasy onto the geometry. I find that so erotic,” she laughs as she says this. “You really establish a relationship with the different shapes.”
Ad Minoliti’s paintings prod us to revamp our nostalgia for certain fantasies of the future. They relocate desire; or perhaps re-map it with a new set of coordinates. They inject fantasy with something more attuned to the porous edges of objects, animals, our bodies, and what we think of as natural and unnatural (not to mention something more humorous and generous). A form becomes a figure becomes a rock becomes an animal becomes an entire painting becomes a room becomes a female body becomes a geometry becomes a multiple becomes a deviant set of limbs with eyes embedded in its thighs poised to devour the overtly patriarchal pop, sexy-swimsuit version of our capitalist dreams. In an era when we spend more time managing metadata about ourselves than ourselves, G.S.F.C. 2.0 reminds us that bodies don’t have to be remade into perfect fusions for new world orders or systematized Snapchats, but instead can be reimagined for even odder amalgams.
Anthony Hawley is a multidisciplinary artist and writer. Recent solo projects were presented by the Salina Art Center; CounterCurrent in partnership with the Menil Collection & Aurora Picture Show; and Spazju Kreattiv in Malta. He is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, and a forthcoming artist book A Book of Spells. Along with violinist Rebecca Fischer, he forms one half of The Afield, a performance collaboration for violin, video, electronics, and more. He teaches in the Hunter College MFA Studio Art Program.