Cahiers d’Art is pleased to present Fresh Flesh for the Rotten Rite, an exhibition of new monotypes and ghosts by Jill Mulleady. The exhibition is presented at 15 rue du Dragon, from October 20, 2021 to January 8, 2022.
Dear Nai D,
Does it always occur in your life that you figure out something retrospectively? Let’s say, an event takes place, but you don’t understand what forces shaped it and under what rules it has occurred, only later the picture becomes more clear, and you come to terms with it.
Or — something happens, but you don’t even notice that it has happened at all, only much later you realize that an event had occurred, and perhaps it was even a crucial event, a dramatic shift in the order of things. Like you brought a set of lilies instead of violets to someone whom you always brought violets for. One day this person tells you that this was exactly the point when you’ve gone separate ways (not that it should not have happened.) Or maybe it is another person that tells you that, and you realize that back then you haven’t registered anything happening at all. It just appeared as a mundane half-conscious flow.
And then violets (or their color) resurface in your painting, as a leap through the order of things, as a leap across vaults, something that spills across?
Do you remember when you spilled a cup of tea on Dirty Windows by Merry Alpern in Paris? Forgive me for mumbling out “I knew this would happen” when we tried to absorb the tea with paper tissues. ‘Cause in fact I knew this would happen. As as soon as you placed the cup of tea next to the book (not that I care about the book that much despite all the seedy action going on there) I knew it would spill. When I described the event to Viktorija she said “You could have just moved the cup a bit and warned Nai D kindly.” True, I could have done that. Then I asked myself why didn’t I do it?
Allow me to admit, I was slightly irritated that you wanted a cup of tea immediately after we had coffee. I thought “Why should one want tea immediately after coffee? What is this automatic habit to have tea whenever it is being offered?” And, perhaps less consciously, the anticipation of that cup spilling off, was even more thrilling. It would have proved that I was right: she should not have accepted that cup of tea. And — to follow one more possible step back in the sequence: a thrill of a mere domestic violence loomed somewhere too. A potential of a raw release of emotions. You went out of my control with the cup of tea, and the cup went out of control too, and myself — probably too.
As I am grappling with it now I am thinking of a picture of a tropical bird that I saw at Sarah’s birthday. It keeps piercing me through in its slow gaze: I am experiencing a very deep and dim flashback of looking at a similar bird in the same range of the brightest colors (that almost soaked through a screen and paper), in my childhood. As the violets are resurfacing in your painting I am trying to sense what did I feel back then, what made me so thrilled to see that bird each time — a bird’s head, to be more precise, the marvelous glow of its feathers. Perhaps it was a sense of possessiveness: I was imagining that bird living in my royal gardens, being one of the elements that belong to me in all its beauty. Was it an invocation of future in captivity?
Just think of that painting in one’s own room, or bringing flowers to someone first: isn’t it a claim to posses?
Mulleady was born in 1980 in Montevideo, Uruguay. She received an MFA from Chelsea College of Arts, London. She lives and works in Los Angeles.
Mulleady has exhibited widely across the Americas and Europe, including solo exhibitions at the Consortium Museum, Dijon (2021); Gladstone Gallery, Brussels (2020); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2020); Swiss Institute, New York (2019); Galerie Neu, Berlin (2018); Schloss, Oslo (2018); Kunsthalle Bern (2017); and Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples (2015).
Group exhibitions include May You Live in Interesting Times, curated by Ralph Rugoff, at La Biennale di Venezia (2019); Feel the Sun in Your Mouth at Hirshhorn, Washington DC (2019); Emissaries for Things Abandoned by Gods, curated by Elena Filipovic, at Estancia FEMSA / Casa Luis Barragán, Mexico City (2019); Claude Mirrors at Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin; Digital Gothic at CAC – La Synagogue de Delme; Avengers: Someone Left the Cake Out in the Rain at Reena Spaulings, Los Angeles; Noise! At Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem (2018); Mad World at Marciano Collection, Los Angeles (2018); A Fleshly School of Poetry at D21 Kunstraum Leipzig; and Spiegelgasse, curated by Gianni Jetzer, at Hauser & Wirth, London.
Mulleady’s works are held in the collections of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Hirschorn Museum, Washington DC; San Francisco MOMA; LACMA, Los Angeles; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; MCA Chicago; Consortium Museum, Dijon; MAM, Paris; Fondazione S. de Rebaudengo, Turin; Aishti Foundation, Beirut; and Rubell Family Collection, Miami among others.
Mulleady is represented by Gladstone Gallery, New York/Los Angeles/Brussels/Seoul, Galerie Neu, Berlin and Fitzpatrick Gallery, Paris.