April 4 – May 9, 2024

Our preoccupation is always the big thing, the main course, or end goal. The satisfaction of a thankless libidinal drive. How a production line tends towards speed; how a mediocre novel is organized; how the necessary and interminable work of maintenance is rendered invisible. At once emotionally freighted and depersonalized, the artists of ‘Prelude’ pose maintenance as ongoing, as open-ended question: what happens in preparation of the event, and who is responsible for doing it? In this exhibition, it is figuration that slows the gaze in service of the ‘everyman’ – the overlooked subject that we all are and yet are never really either. It is such that to consider their representation, we may rely too fondly on the ‘perhaps’ and the ‘elsewhere’.   

Perhaps we can think of the atomized ‘everyman’ through the following humble confessional: the vernacular domestic he undertakes in his home, whether reparative wall painting or idle dishwashing (Adriel Visoto). Naturally, he is nameless and faceless, and works with his back turned to us. He steps out onto the scene of his apartment with only his shadow for company, a pictorial device that pronounces his aloneness. Outside, four figures cluster on a curb in verdigris, and a woman is bent double in ochre (Andrei Pokrovskii). A feedback loop: the constitution of sociality by its environment, which is the exteriorisation of humankind’s inner world, conversely. A certain genre of painting may thus be understood as an artefact of a culture in a given time or place, perhaps this is why art historians refer to it as ‘social realism’.

I don’t know what I don’t know. But I do know that maintenance is either re-branded as social reproduction or falls into the gap between the individual and the collective. In our ‘one-on-ones’, my therapist reminds me that there is ‘nothing wrong with healthy co-dependence’. Together, we do visualization exercises, we imagine two faces linked by an umbilical-like stem (Katalin Kortmann-Járay). She tells me ‘the work we do here’ must take passage through intergenerational continuities, the nested-ness of formative experiences in childhood, the search for a blueprint for belonging. I practice, I participate, I perform. She nods encouragingly. There is the enlargement of a feeling I cannot name, except with the word ‘roominess’.

Elsewhere this room, maybe a bedroom, maybe containing friends, maybe containing more. ‘Maybe’ enters a lexicon of reliance, insofar as the word postpones judgment and diverts knowing. That slowness creeps in and settles quietly, palpable in the painstaking efforts of tapestry and the creation of space for queer subjects in woven medium (Mia Weiner). A room of one’s own could likewise be the material histories of the underrepresented social body turned sensitive treatise, to complicate the warp and weft of biopolitical power dynamics. ‘Roominess’ means making space for others. Maybe.

Or elsewhere, the unseen trials of the sick body cordoned off by the general publicness of ableism. The body of this subject sees and feels intensely; thus they care intently, and transgress the rule of individualism. Their observance of the world itself speaks of tenderness: an empathic, impressionistic warmth turned on figures in a sun-soaked street; four birds held close to the bosom, a non-human intimacy; a cherry blossom tree standing bravely between heaven and earth (Lauryn Welch). Perhaps, the dependant body in jeopardy is likewise the germ of maintenance in a world that creates and envelops it. Perhaps, our elusive ‘everyman’ is a kindness that loves better the prelude.

    –Elaine M.L. Tam


Katalin Kortmann-Járay(born in 1986 in Hungary) is a visual artist based in Budapest. Her work analyzes the influence of culture and human perception, looking for interfaces between individual and collective experiences.

Andrei Pokrovskii
(born in 1996 in Russia) is a visual artist based in London. His work deals primarily with the image of space and the process of establishing a relationship with the location. Shaping the environment as a theatrical stage where decorations control the actors, Polrovskii utilizes the bits of narrative as a vehicle for altering and emphasizing the perception of place.

Adriel Visoto
(born in 1987 in Brazil) is a visual artist based in São Paulo. He approaches painting as a way to materialize private, confessional, and autobiographical narratives around trivial experiences and everyday rituals, especially in the domestic space. The paintings are always in small formats, a choice that accentuates and reinforces their objectual and affective dimensions.

Mia Weiner
(USA) is an artist based in Los Angeles. She examines the psychology of human relationships, gender, and identity through intimate, technical, and often laborious applications of textiles and fibers. In Weiner’s works bodies meet, cross, and tangle, in domestic spaces, outdoors, and floating with the realm of daydream or abstraction.

Lauryn Welch
(born in 1991 in the USA) is an artist based in New York. Through painting and film, they explore the language of care and the experiences of illness and wellness through the construction of homes. Their work is influenced by locally accessible nature and ornithology.



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