Public guided tours:

18.03.2018, 14h

04.04.2018, 18.30h

Portikus is pleased to announce the exhibition A Hard White Body, a Soft White Worm by American artist Candice Lin (*1979) – her first institutional solo exhibition in Germany. Lin’s exhibition invites viewers into a fragmented environment of broken porcelain. Elements of drapery, clothing, and discarded books are the remnants of a preceding form presented in Paris: a fragile room sculpted entirely of unfired porcelain, moist – alive with green moss and orange fungi. The new scene at Portikus testifies to irrecoverable loss, of desolation and absence, of a life – always tenuous – now gathered together in pieces that do not comprise the whole. But in the scattered and dispersed fragments, precarious lives become visible in glimpses, and a diasporic longing for a portable home creates new genealogies by affinity.

Lin weaves together the stories of James Baldwin (1924–1987), black American novelist and essayist, Jeanne Baret (1740–1807), French botanist and first woman to have sailed around the globe, and Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), artist and naturalist born in Frankfurt. While separated through time, geography and dividing lines of race, class and gender, all three characters negotiated complex intersectional power relations. In the exhibition, their trajectories are interwoven with those of non-human agents: porcelain, plants, and insects. Porcelain was a material described in a racially anxious language as an exquisite white body, a Chinese secret of Western orientalist desire, inimitable until the mid-eighteenth century. Silkworms dwell on and inside the porcelain fragments, staining its white surface with their excrement and death. Alongside the installation, a detox herbal tea is boiling, welcoming the visitors for a hot drink. Nevertheless, by evoking the idea of a healthy body that is cleansed from damaging environmental and social influences, the invitation brings about the question of individual purity in toxic times.

A Hard White Body, a Soft White Worm is a coproduction with Bétonsalon - Center for Art and Research, Paris and the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, The University of Chicago, with contribution from Temporary Gallery, Cologne.

The exhibition at Portikus was made possible with the financial support of the Hessische Kulturstiftung.

Co-curated by Lotte Arndt, Lucas Morin and Philippe Pirotte.

Photos: Helena Schlichting