art knows how to find its way into the recesses of your head


Fragments of Lolita’s carpet, 2022, hand tufted wool and augmented reality, 160 x 65 cm.Sculpture Sampat Studio, Rademakers Gallery

It often happens that a work of art only reveals something in the second, third or sometimes tenth instance, but this is usually because I simply hadn’t noticed a detail. In this case, a piece of art appeared from a new page through my phone screen in between. Something I usually try to avoid when looking at art. What you see on the right, you will not see when you stand in front of it. I stood in front of this rug in the Rademakers gallery in Amsterdam, handmade (‘tufted’) from wool. With 24 squares gives Fragments of Lolita’s blanket actually the feel of a patchwork quilt. At first I only saw the strawberry.

Harry Styles

But sometimes you can intuitively make an association before you consciously register what you see. I was sitting right here humming a line from a Harry Styles song. Tastes like strawberries on a summer evening… Logically because of the strawberry, but what I hadn’t figured out yet was that it was primarily due to the circular sheath shape of that strawberry. Because I hadn’t recognized it yet. Harry Styles’ number Watermelon sugar is about the taste of his girlfriend’s vagina, I understand, so there was obviously penetration.

The gallerist pointed out that I was looking at half the artwork. It was only finished, she showed, when I looked at it via an app with augmented reality. I held the phone up to the carpet and the first rabbit appeared. ONE Donnie Darko-as a human rabbit with bare buttocks facing me. The second came, and then another. They squat and eat, the red splashes fly around. Which immediately, in a strange way, also creates a violent image. Scabbards, eating men and blood-red slabs – art knows how to find its way into the caverns of your head.

Sampat Studio, Fragments of Lolita's carpet, 2022, hand tufted wool and augmented reality, 160 x 65 cm.  Statue Rademakers Gallery

Sampat Studio, Fragments of Lolita’s carpet, 2022, hand tufted wool and augmented reality, 160 x 65 cm.Statue Rademakers Gallery

The combination of such a digital technique and the ancient craftsmanship of a wool rug is wonderful. The appreciation of textile art has its own history – in Rubens’ time, carpets were many times more expensive than paintings, while in the last century, traditionally produced textile art was relegated to the ‘women’s corner’, inferior to ‘high’ painting. And while the NFTs (non-fungible tokens) flying around our ears, the general public is not entirely satisfied with digital art either. I had not seen them come together before; augmented reality has long been used in the arts, but as far as I knew primarily for education. To see something extra about the painting you’re in front of, such as a photo of the same location or a preliminary sketch. In this case, it is part of the work itself.

Forms of femininity

Sampat Studio, comprised of Malaysian artists Marcos Kueh and Isabelle Nair-Lacheta, is just getting started. Kueh graduated this spring from the art academy in The Hague. In an interview, he recently announced that he does not yet have his own studio. Meanwhile, his career is shooting at the dangerous pace of a the sum; a pace that is generally ill-suited to the sustainability of the visual arts. Museums bought his shiny woven rugs, he received a Young Blood Award from gallery Ron Mandos. Fragments of Lolita’s blanket is not only about the tension between tangible and virtual reality, but also about forms of (sexualized) femininity. A pair of cherries with breasts dancing in front of them, a squirting baby bottle, stiff teenage teeth get diamonds ‘online’. The care in Kueh’s craft, the age-old theme of dealing with feminine values, and the playfulness of virtual reality that Nair-Lacheta adds make this a piece of art that I want to see mature, get a second, third, and tenth impression of the. .

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