Cece Philips “Walking the In-Between” at Peres Project, Seoul

By Last Updated: May 6, 2023Views: 542

Philips continues to discover liminal areas, occasions, and conditions. She invitations us to take lengthy strolls via a composite cosmopolis harking back to London, Florence and California, draped within the hues of the blue hour, and inhabited by suited ladies. Presently between day and night time—between canine and wolf, as a French expression goes—a mysterious environment lingers over every tableau. We observe every scene from its periphery—via an open window, from the other sidewalk, from behind a bush or a settee—, Cece Philips intentionally inserting us in a voyeuristic place. Whereas gazing is often welcome and anticipated in a gallery, right here our glances develop into “clandestine,” as author and researcher Rolake Osabia writes within the quick story accompanying the exhibition, entitled “Please Comply with the Yellow Mild.” Complementing the 9 work that comprise “Strolling the In-Between,” Osabia’s textual content provides an interpretation of Philips’ work, narrating the wanderings of an nameless observer, whose perspective may very well be that of the artist simply in addition to the viewer.

On this new physique of labor, Philips delves deeper into the politics of the gaze by grappling with the determine of the flâneur. The promenade turns into a tool to query how ladies, and particularly ladies of coloration, occupy and expertise public area. An archetype of modernity, the flâneur, often a male, is an acute, but indifferent, observer of contemporary city life. In The Painter of Trendy Life (1863), Charles Baudelaire describes the flâneur: “To be away from dwelling and but to really feel at dwelling wherever; to see the world, to be on the very heart of the world, and but to be unseen of the world, such are a number of the minor pleasures of these unbiased, intense and neutral spirits [. . .]. The observer is a prince having fun with his incognito wherever he goes.”

By her follow, Philips highlights the privilege implied by such a posture. Belonging wherever, wandering and watching with out danger and with out arousing suspicion, is a luxurious that many aren’t afforded. As each an artist and a girl, Philips observes as a lot as she is noticed, and “Strolling the In-Between” straddles each stances. “What’s it to be seen? What’s it to ask the gaze of the opposite? What’s it to belong?” are questions that run all through the exhibition.

In these work, ladies reclaim the streets, golf equipment, and bars—areas historically hostile to them, particularly at dusk. Carrying crimson fits and prime hats, Philips’ noble and unknowable characters appear to belong to a secret society, a timeless sisterhood, such because the one congregating in The Inexperienced Home (2023). With windowless eyes, some face the viewer with out deigning to fulfill their gaze. The figures are distant and closed off, just like the gatekeepers in I Spy A Stranger (2023) and Blues within the Night time (2023), thus shifting the facility dynamic between the observer and the noticed. Though Philips’ work resist any mutual change of gazes, they mirror the viewer’s personal picture again at them via a mirror (Reflections, 2023) or a window (Midsummer Music, 2023), as if to remind them of their voyeuristic and intrusive place.

Whereas the blue hour hinders sight and covers the conversant in a veil of strangeness, it additionally corresponds to the second when properties are lit up and home windows develop into showcases, revealing home intimacy to passersby. In Philips’ work, that is depicted via vibrant yellow hues that distinction the blue tones of nightfall. Like a beacon within the night time, this yellow gentle that the observer in Osabia’s story relentlessly pursues conveys a musicality, that of a sociability out of attain.
Certainly, behind the home windows, via doorways left ajar, the scenes we glimpse are blurred and inaccessible, thus leaving us on the edge of night time.

at Peres Undertaking, Seoul
till Might 26, 2023

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