Malia Jensen, Salty (2011)
From The Porland Mercury:
Elizabeth Leach’s 30th anniversary continues with a continuation of their group show The Shape of the Problem, and sculptor Malia Jensen presents a new video work, Salty, in which she gave a herd of cows a salt lick in the shape of a human breast, and documented the results.
I saw this exhibit at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Porland, OR this weekend. It was part of a larger group show called “The Shape of the Problem II.” Salty was separated in its own space.
Salty is set up to include a photo series, a video, and the actual breast sculptures made of salt. I chose to go around and see the photos first, then the sculptures, and finally watch the video.
The photographs were divided in a series with the following titles: “Once Upon a Time in the West,” “Western Scene,” and “High Noon.” Jensen aims to evoke images of Western films and the pioneering imagery of the “Manifest Destiny” era of American history.
The photos depict pastoral scenes that showed the cows grazing. Much like paintings of wild horses, or a herd of buffalo in the Wild West era, the cows had a beauty in their group formations, and in their natural setting. However, this was upset by the appearance of tags on their ears, an obvious imagery of our human dominion.
As found on Wikipedia, salt licks (or mineral licks) are natural formations or deposits of salt and other minerals, which animals consume (or lick) to obtain minerals they need, but may otherwise not have access to with their normal diet.
The sculptures themselves were made of salt, but appeared much more durable, almost marble-like in their smoothness. The sculptures presented were the actual salt licks used in the video, and it is evident by the appearance of dirt on the sides. Some of the breasts were more worn than the others, less defined in the nipple area.
The sculptures seem to refer to Classical Greek sculptures of goddesses, though severed from the rest of the body. Perhaps this is a commentary on the cows themselves, and their common fate of being chopped into a hundred pieces for human consumption. In the video, rather, it is the chopped-off human form which the cows consume.
This commentary via role-reversal is made more evident when one watches the video projection. Unlike the photo series, which bring a sense of pastoral pleasure, the video is disconcerting. It begins with the artist driving up to the herd and placing one of the salt licks on the ground. At first, the cows pay it no mind, but soon become curious. After a few minutes, one of the cows begins to lick the breast, and joined by another cow.
Watching the video gives one an eerie sense of sensuality and disgust. As humans (and more specifically, Americans), we think of the human breasts as serving two purposes: the production of milk for infants, and as a symbol of sexuality. When observing the cows lick the human breasts, both of these purposes are muddled, and what follows is the uncomfortable sense of observing something that one is perhaps not supposed to be seeing. The sound of the cows moaning the the background add to this sense of displacement.
The lopped-off human form used for cow consumption of minerals reverses the current system of human hegemony. We are accustomed to our role as the consumer. Cows serve our purposes. In Jensen’s Salty, we see the opposite: the cows consume us, or a representation of us. A human breast in the wild, repeatedly licked by cows’ tongues.
So I had no idea about this but the same night as the inauguration of Memento Momento, another exhibit was taking place at Lolita’s in New York City with my work on the walls.
What an amazing coincidence!
Memento Momento: Inauguration Party Photos!
Memento Momento: Inauguration Night, 7 April 2011
at La Calabaza Mecánica, Rota, Spain
It was an astounding success, one of the best nights of my life. Lovely people, wonderful conversations, great music. It came together so well. Thank you to all who came by to give your love and support, I only hope I was able to give the same in return by sharing my work with you all.
Memento Momento: Hanging up the works
Special thanks to Arturo, Kienan, Savannah and Enrique!
Memento Momento: Inauguration Day!
Thanks to my friends Arturo, Kienan, Savannah, and Enrique, all my works are hung up and ready for viewing tonight!
Press Release / Nota de Prensa
an exhibition of instant photography
by Kiam Marcelo Junio
La Calabaza Mecánica
Avenida San Fernando 1
7-25 April, 2011
Opening 7 April, 2011 at 9:30 pm
Memento Momento is the first exhibition of Kiam Marcelo Junio’s work. The exposition consists of photographs taken with Polaroid cameras, including two works currently in progress: Placer Instantáneo (Instant Pleasure), and Recuerdos Desechados (Discarded Memories).
Placer Instantáneo (Instant Pleasure) is a year-long photographic diary of the artist’s daily life. Subjects range from portraits of friends, landscapes, still-life, and street photographs taken in Rota and during his travels. The project ends on June 8, 2011, when the artist’s contract with the US Navy expires.
Recuerdos Desechados (Discarded Memories) is an experiment with the photographic medium. The project explores the practice of recycling old photographs and their attached memories to create something new.
Kiam Marcelo Junio was born and raised in the Philippines. He has lived in Japan and various locations in the United States. He currently resides in Rota, Spain.
una exhibición de fotos instantáneas
de Kiam Marcelo Junio
La Calabaza Mecánica
Avenida San Fernando 1
7-25 Abril, 2011
Inauguración 7 Abril, 21:30
Memento Momento es la primera exposición de la obra de Kiam Marcelo Junio (EEUU). Se compone de fotos tomadas con cámaras de Polaroid, incluyendo dos proyectos todavía en marcha: Placer Instantáneo, y Recuerdos Desechados.
Placer Instantáneo es una relación de fotografías tomadas diariamente durante un año. Éstas incluyen retratos de amigos del artista, paisajes, y fotos de las calles de Rota y durante sus viajes. El proyecto terminará el 8 de Junio, 2011, cuando finalice el contrato del artista con la marina de EEUU.
Recuerdos Desechados es un experimento con fotografías instantáneas. El proyecto partió del concepto de reciclar fotos y los pensamientos e ideas que se deducen de ellas. El proyecto pretende desacerse la idea principal para crear algo nuevo.
Kiam Marcelo Junio nació y se crió en Filipinas. Vivió también en Japón y en diversos lugares de EEUU. Actualmente reside en Rota (Cadiz), España.
Memento Momento: The Preparation.
I finally have all the selected Placer Instantáneo prints (and originals) together! Today, I arranged them in their planned layout, and applied varnish on the 8x10 prints. I also adjusted a couple of birds on “Recuerdos Desechados (Discarded Memories) 4: Volar (To Fly).”
Tomorrow I start hanging the pieces on the wall!
Memento Momento - Preparing for my exhibit, opening this Thursday. I’ve still got one more canvas to complete for my Recuerdos Desechados series, titled “Volar (To Fly),” inspired by flight patterns of birds.
Posters and Postcards for my upcoming exhibit, Memento Momento have arrived!
This was truly one of the happiest nights of my life.
Sneak Peek: PolaRetratos
(Image: Megan, Maryland)
I don’t know if I have mentioned before, but I am working on putting together a collection of my work to present to an exhibition venue.
The exhibit would consist of three of my Polaroid/Instant Film projects:
-Placer Instantaneo (Instant Pleasure): a year in instant films
-PolaRetratos (PolaPortraits): People and Places
-Recuerdos Deshechados (Discarded Memories): reusing “trashed” instant films as raw materials for collage
This has been taking up a lot of my time and interest recently, and I am deeply excited to be able to put this together and share it with everyone. Wish me luck on securing the venue/s!