The artist Puppies Puppies celebrates the joy of performing while hiding behind costumes, names and icons. She represents all and none of us in an attempt of manipulating the meaning of popular culture material in order to include it in a more queer discourse. For her solo show at number 6A of the gallery Vilma Gold, Puppies Puppies deploys a miscellaneous scenario full of references from mainstream products in America and worldwide, such as Disney and the corn syrup industry.
The relationship between the show elements and Puppies Puppies own biographical circumstances is traced through an astonishing press release that the artist wrote herself. With a cynical tone, it narrates the bittersweet event of a brain tumour that lasted for years and that she just got rid of. The text explains her former necessity of experiencing the very moment without thinking about the future, as each day could be the last one and thus no need to care about the carcinogenic effects of the corn syrup or Coca Cola. It keeps telling how Puppies Puppies decided to include dancing in his performances after a conversation that made her realize how pleasant it is to feel free and anonymous while performing.
At the gallery, the floor is covered with fake snow and elements such as a suitcase, two industrial corn syrup barrels, pillow chairs and ear of corn shaped chairs, act as a set décor. The visitor can seat down and look at the multimedia works, displayed in an iPod, an iPad and a wall screening. The iPod video shows a turbulent ocean and emanates wave sounds. On the iPad some advertising about corn syrup are running: a dangerous yet massively consumed product. The suitcase is filled with the clothes of Puppies Puppies’ partner and a skull, condensing the rush of living while loving intensively and the feeling of moving around ignoring the future. The wall screening is a loop extracted from the Disney movie Frozen (2013) and in the depicted scene the character Olaf sings and dances a sticky melody. Olaf is a living snowman who aims to enjoy a summer without melting, something technically impossible due to his nature.
On the left side of the wall screening there is a made-in-China plush costume of Olaf. The artist brought the costume to life, turning into Olaf, dancing until exhaustion at the show’s preview. The actual human body of Puppies Puppies might have been sweating for hours, yet the touching enactment continued, welcoming a new era of self-healing and life joy. In contrast, in the other corner of the room, the blue barrel containing water, a carrot, stones and a tree branch represents a melted version of Olaf: a failure of the dream.
On the walls of the gallery office, a drawing of a headless Olaf and a childish painting of a swimming Olaf. The liberation through the repetitive and cathartic gesture, as well as the liberation from the intruder disease, guillotined thanks to luck, form the basis of Frozen. Nevertheless, although the one danger is GONE, it is impossible to escape other dangers, which remain in the surrounding products, in the lies of media and within the actual nature of people.
Gabriela Acha is an independent curator based in London. She is at the moment studying an MFA in Curating at Goldsmiths University of London and will be running the project space Green Ray in Deptford from December on–together with Natahlie Boobis and Katy Orkisz. In the past she was running collectively the Berlin-based multidisciplinary space Altes Finanzamt.
Gabriela is interested in current emergent and reflective practices that deal with temporality, networks and materiality.