Soft Invasions, Stitch-punk Visions. by liactualee
Colorful organisms spread rapidly, spilling over the squared-off edges of a world bleached of color by smog, rising temperatures, and habitat loss. Regenerative life forms shapeshift, disrupt, and transgress borders, ephemeral but tenacious. Do we react with excitement or fear to this queer invasion? How have they adapted to survive, even thrive, in the toxicity left behind by human activity?
With no land, they make their own world.
liactuallee’s early practice attempted to decipher their own complex identity, questioning the assumptions that underlie gender and other binaries. When trying to find a place for their identity in a hostile world seemed futile, they set out to create worlds that could encompass them. Inspired in part by Octavia E. Butler’s richly-imagined xenobiologies, the Garden of Dystopian Beauties series (2021) posited alternate worlds in which to mend relationships with the land. The Transience of Space series (2022) explored our lack of collective consciousness and care through depictions of statues hovering over public spaces.
li absorbed traditional as well as punk and feminist textile art as a child in Poland, and crochet, needle-point, and embroidery re-emerge in this exhibit to allow li’s tender profanities to push their way out of the flat plane and into three-dimensional reality. These techniques allow the artist to shift and adapt in orientation, while the repetition of the stitch encourages a state of calm, a control of breath, and comfort with one’s body. The fluidity of the stitch echoes that of the body, emerging and protruding past boundaries, taking up space. Rather than depicting dystopian or apocalyptic visions, li reclaims stitching as a powerful and expressive tool for creating art; their work insists on constructing hopeful futures, but remains stubbornly agnostic about the presence of homo sapiens.
As xenophobia rises along with the sea-level, these fiber sculptures ask us to do something radical and simple – envision queerer, softer, stranger futures. Open yourself to soft invasions of empathy and hope.
– Rayyan Monkey and Justin Nisly
Dates : Saturday, 20th May - Sunday, 26th June 2023
Venue : Method Bandra