NOTHING IN THAT DRAWER — IN THE RACK ROOM #28
Preview FRI, NOV 3, 2023, 6 — 9pm
Open by appointment until DEC 3, 2023
LAGE EGAL [IN THE RACK ROOM]
Liselotte-Herrmann-Str. 26 (HH), 10407 Berlin
0172 3653149 (EMIK)
LAGE EGAL is very pleased to invite the curatorial group EMIK PROJECTS to present a solo exhibition by the artist EVERETT BABCOCK entitled NOTHING IN THAT DRAWER.
EVERETT BABCOCK uses furniture from his own apartment and other commonplace things from his everyday surroundings to make the sculptures, wall works, and an installation exhibited at IN THE RACK ROOM. He combines various materials in response to their capacity to resonate with human conditions. These tinkered assemblages take on the form of characters that fluctuate between figuration and abstraction, and they flaunt their material moods, eliciting peculiar emotions. The work aspires to make the relationship between feeling and substance, between us and things, more clear.
The staging of things here, whether they be neatly stacked, energetically piled, slightly anthropomorphized, or traditionally hung on the wall, is a reaction to the affects of things. The two most prominent sculptures have personas. Part head and part guts, they play roles that their conventional selves normally hide. The sculpture, Square but Edgy, has composure, its tidy contents follow the stacking logic of their own orderly forms. The calm textures and quiet colors put on a prim and proper attitude, but the indulgence of a bad habit suggests a longing to be cool, or perhaps the fragility of its poise. The other sculpture, Tender but Stuffy, is vulnerable and outwardly irritable. The crammed cushiony insides are resilient and can absorb some hits, but it’s still trying to hold back an outburst. Sick of everyone’s bullshit, it wears a squishy disgruntled expression and tries to insulate itself from the overwhelming loudness. It may be touchy, but only because it’s soft on the inside.
Also in the space are smaller works, some on the wall and some among an installation of wood and foam. In some of them, small drawers become character studies. The work, Accessorize, never forgets to adorn itself, and the work, Rauhaus has a rough but appreciative understanding of art history. Others, like the tiny wall works, are playfully made formal explorations of the materials found throughout the exhibition.
The title of the exhibition is borrowed from a Ron Padgett poem of the same name. When the 14 identical lines are read aloud, the words reveal their materiality, each utterance feeling different than the last; the words as repetitive vibrations become weird. These material reiterations are a kind of attentiveness that shows us the strange vitality and expressive capacity of things. In the exhibition, similar reiterations are spoken in the language of assemblage, where accumulated stuff is puzzled into once functional drawers; The drawers frame and squish the materials like a poem does to words. When these seemingly banal things are repeated in this format, the materials accentuate their emotive qualities.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
EVERETT BABCOCK was born in Long Beach, California, USA, and now lives and works in Berlin, Germany. He received his BA in Fine Arts at UCLA in Los Angeles and is currently in a master program at UdK in Berlin.
As an interdisciplinary bricoleur, EVERETT’s practice most often begins with biographical elements, but it moves into a broader scope. He uses levity to deal with heavy themes like relocation, emotional distress, death, waste, and incarceration. The character of everyday materials and commonplace actions is the foundation of his work as he tries to show that the gap between mental and physical is illusory.
His approaches consist of collecting, curating, managing, carrying, organizing, balancing, assembling, reassembling, recreating, stacking, and bundling stuff. Dangerous stuff, harmless stuff, weird stuff, ordinary stuff. He regards these acts as both physical and psychological gestures that entail meaning and emotion, and he considers materials as actants. Things do things in the world, they aren’t simply passive matter that we influence, but they are active agents that interact with us. Overabundance, planned obsolescence, and single use function disregard the vitality of things in a culture of anti-materiality. In response, Everett tries to empathize with materials and finds it useful to relate their qualities to human conditions. He uses what he finds, his own possessions, and those of others to make sculptures, paintings, videos, and performances that try to make sense of things.