Fearless Flowers (I Move Through Chicago Like Honey) at White Pearl Gallery is the first solo exhibition of Berlin-based artist Aline Schwibbe in Prague. Through artworks ranging from painting to sculpture to video, the artist discusses topics such as presentation of female body, whitewashing and kinship. The exhibition will present work created during the artist’s two months summer residency in New York alongside drawings she made three years ago while studying in Prague for a semester.
In her own words, Aline Schwibbe's work is about “visualizing relationships between different fragments of the self.” Collage is, indeed, a visual thread that intertwines throughout her whole practice. However, the act of picking out and bringing elements together is less about fragmentation or deconstructing - strategies of postmodern collage - but more about tying, interconnecting, and storytelling.
The separate components brought together in Schwibbe's work are partial because they have been ripped apart/out/into/open/off by violences that are allowed to exist in our society, such as racism or sexist objectification. Their depiction can be read as celebration of their continued existence, survival, tenacity, and joy despite circumstances. Schwibbe’s practice is not an attempt to give them new wholeness or to assimilate them into a different context. Instead the artist holds and allows them to carry their pasts. This approach comes from theories of kinship, sisterhood, and interspecies ethics, such as speculative and intersectional feminism. Indeed, while building on feminist thinkers and artists from the past, one can notice the transformation their thoughts have undergone in the past decade in Schwibbe's work. This turn can be defined by the core proclamation of Donna J. Haraway's newest book Staying With the Trouble: “Make kin not babies!” In the same spirit as Haraway turned her focus from cybernetics to emphasis on the ethics of personal, intimate relationships between people, animals, things, Schwibbe is also more interested in regrowth, reconnection, and repatterning than the big words of either futuristic pessimism or optimism.
In her current work, white has become a predominant color, building on Schwibbe's characteristic urgent yet subtle materiality. In her own words: “It [white color] points to the exclusion of bodies, works and voices from anyone that is not white, straight, cisgendered and male in all the important art institutions. White signifies the dialectics of presence and absence, visibility and invisibility,(...)” In her flower paintings, painted white on white, our attention is brought to the act of erasure and whitewashing, but the work doesn't enact it. The different shades of white are at once a warning but also a hope that, if we choose to see and recognize, we can see shapes of things unforeseen.
The exhibition is curated by guest curator Magdalena Jadwiga Härtelova. Härtelova, alumni of Art History program at Charles University in Prague and Curatorial Practice at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, is curator of the Gallery of Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, she practices curating in Prague, Berlin, and Northern California