For CONDO London 2020, Château Shatto, Los Angeles, hosted by mother’s tankstation, London, will present a curated collaboration featuring a small suite of Zeinab Saleh’s paintings in concert with a grouping of sculptures by Yuko Mohri.
The distinctive practices of Zeinab Saleh (born 1996, Kenya, lives and works in London), and Yuko Mohri (born Kanagawa, Japan, 1980, lives and works in Tokyo), are united in having everything and nothing to do with where in the world they are from, formulating the why and where of what they do. The inescapability is, that both artists have backgrounds that can be aestheticised or ‘orientalised’, which both artists embrace and resist in measure, while equally asserting artistic influences from determinative explorative cultural references, that grow from the mainframe of experimental, western modernism.
Zeinab Saleh received a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London and her practice takes the form of painting, drawing, video, sculpture and publishing; with these various working methods and materials sharing a fluid exchange. Saleh’s paintings are prompted by encounters with video, drawn both from her own recordings as well as an extensive family archive. Saleh works from stills to isolate details within a frame, extracting line, gesture and atmosphere and translating these qualities from a moving format to a static one, lifting selected moments from their context and relocates their subtle operations onto the surface of her paintings. In doing so, she takes advantage of the enigmatic potential of these floating forms. Beyond this interplay between video and painting, Saleh’s work more broadly pursues sensorial glimpses and fleeting impressions, submitting to the cultural specificity of the material she draws from while resisting the trap of aestheticising or orientalising these visual cues. Eyes appear across several of her paintings, asserting painting as a medium that is catalysed by a perspective position and then, in turn, produces a new one.
Yuko Mohri, the recipient of the Nissan Art Award 2015, is a dynamic and strongly emerging installation artist who cites an inheritance from Satie, Duchamp, Nauman, Nam June Paik. Her sculptures recast, re-configured ‘everyday’ items and machine parts, collected over travels from multiple cities around the globe, into self-contained ecosystems channeling and conducting intangible energies such as magnetism, gravity, temperature and light. These collective, performative “sculptural orchestras”, frequently driven by almost silent sound and/or electro-magnetic interpretation thereof; that forces the most ordinary things into reluctant alliances that, for example, reduce the ferocity and scape of great oceans to tiny collisions of a magnet on the edge of a glass lens. The gentle massage of steel wires over bronze temple bells creates a flickering circuit of faint light emanating from the extended tentacles of an electrified, vintage bronze and very French, candelabra. They come from nowhere and everywhere, but are also inescapably and emphatically Japanese – without the disaster of Fukushima, her light bulbs would not flicker, nor her ‘Leaky’ sculptures spill their pumped fluids.