Background Hum
solo exhibition, c-o-m-p-o-s-i-t-e, Brussels, 2016
wallpaper on mdf, dust from black and coloured mdf, Formica, methyleen blue liquid and dried

The installation work of Kato Six (°1986) comprises minimal but incisive spatial interventions that act as sculptural marginalia – annotations that are often literally placed in the margins of the space they occupy. With elements, forms, and materials that recall former interior designs as a starting point, she employs familiar material culture and thereby reactivates hauntings of collective embodied memory. By abstracting these mental, affective and physical resources from their original function, setting or occurrence, Six aims at reconfiguring our experience of the ways we make ourselves at home in the world. Formally, she does this in a rather radical way, for abstraction is pushed to the limits of its own artificiality — whether it concerns the works’ com/prehension, matter or shape.

In her second solo show at c-o-m-p-o-s-i-t-e, Six considerably enlarges time scales as she moves from interior to exterior spaces – only to loop them back again. Embedded in this movement lie approaches to morphogenesis (how forms and artefacts ‘grow’) and the manmade dreams of the domestication of nature. Schematized vegetal figures, essentialized geometric forms, compounded synthetic materials that have been assembled, cut, stuck, framed or contained: reincarnations of dead metaphor interrogate the elasticity of the stretch on the natural-unnatural continuum and the human interventions within. Patches that have been photo/graphically derived from landscapes and organic figuration suitably subvert the fraud that the idea of the sublime once upheld — the pure relation with nature. As such, she emblematically deals with the ongoing historicity of our always-mediated attachments to the un/natural.

With Background Hum, Six once more raises matters of perspective, meticulously reworking the ways in which we experience things and spaces by training our attention – from rough-grained to fine-grained perception, but also by modifying our habitual orderings of self and landscape – from detached standpoint to performative movepoint. On a different level, the artist reverses a perspective that is entrenched in our present-day thinking. Intuitively, objects, home interiors, and all of nature serve as tools, décors and resources for human activity. They are the background hum of our lives. Logically, however, if time and mind frames are sufficiently broadened, it is evenly justifiable to advance the opposite: our business may well be considered as their humming background. We end up with a different taste of material culture altogether.

Text Greg Nijs

Photography Hugard&Vanoverschelde