Artist: Lily van der Stokker
Venue: Koenig & Clinton, New York
Exhibition Title: Huh
Date: September 4 – October 18, 2014
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of the artist and Koenig and Clinton, New York. Photos by Jeffrey Sturges.
Koenig & Clinton is pleased to announce Huh, Lily van der Stokker’s second solo exhibition with the Gallery, in which the artist celebrates defiance and embellishment in both subject and form, with all new works—all pink. At its core, Huh presents a greater discussion about beauty, femininity, and optimism to which the ugly, the cheap, and the vacant are tethered.
In the artist’s words, “Huh is about stupidity, paint and the body, the baby, the flesh; about roundness, closeness and softness…it is girly, sweet, decorative, cheap, and about pleasure and color. It is about the ground, the beginning, Zen and nothing, the monochrome.”
Huh holds a mirror to art world clichés and power structures, and laughs about them. Affixed to the Gallery’s wall, a pink retail sign advertises: only yelling older women in here/nothing to sell. Just opposite, van der Stokker’s vast acrylic wall paintings engulf the main gallery space. Initially inspired by the artist’s own floral-patterned pajama pants, handwritten speech bubbles are adorned with curlicues, puffy clouds, and floral motifs. These charming blob-like texts comment on their own situation in the exhibition: very nice to lie here together; lovely to be next to you; we are the same.
Sculptural objects expand the wall paintings’ reach into three dimensions, while custom-made furniture invokes interior décor, a nod to feminine beautification and domestic coziness. At the center of the Gallery, the eponymous freestanding sculpture is covered in doodles, and appears to be spilling over with goopy paint; textual quips such as oopy, ucky, and uffy, puffy seem to ooze out from underneath. Just behind it, a large wooden panel is decorated with flowers and several small shelves, each one cradling a roll of toilet paper. In the lower-left corner, the object’s title: Nothing.
Huh plays on the tension between viewers’ assumptions and the reality present in van der Stokker’s expansive pink installation, challenging conventional ideas of girlishness, enthusiasm, and ornament. “The reputation of pink is one of low intellect,” notes van der Stokker. “For me, Nothing and pink represent a comfort zone, a return to the womb, to the mother, to sleep, to the bed; a world without ambition or hierarchy; the ground. Here, pink is a world of pleasure, of goals unreached, a world without urgency or pressure.”
Exuberantly striving toward the comfort of decorative flatness, Huh stakes out an antithetical position to ‘bad boy art’, and encourages the viewer to question the anatomy of substance, meaning, and above all, seriousness.