Mimicry is both a sacrifice of oneself and an appropriation of the other, a strategic balance between achieving prominence and staying in the background.

With works by: Kévin Bray, Kerry Downey, Nina Glockner, Vytautas Kumža and Kari Robertson.

Curated by: Lila Athanasiadou

In the natural world, mimicry often serves as a defence or offence mechanism as well as a reproduction ritual. Smaller prey maintain their safety through sliding between states of visibility to attract mates, and invisibility to hide from larger predators. However, in his early work sociologist and theorist Roger Caillois debunked the notion of mimicry as a mere survival tactic. He discusses its expression as a crisis of identification to the point of destructive self-erasure, as observed in several insect species. Becoming invisible is as much emancipatory as it is dangerous. Mimicry is both a sacrifice of oneself and an appropriation of the other, a strategic balance between achieving prominence and staying in the background.

Smeared States explores the mechanics of mimicry as the queering of the image and problematizes both the ideas of foreground and background, the illusion of depth and the glossiness of the surface. Mimicry is unpacked as a strategy of co-option, corruption and appropriation rather than mere surface camouflage. By deconstructing the act of mimicry through an excavation of facades and representations, the artists participating in Smeared States attempt to demonstrate that the outline of a so-called ‘natural’ identity or an existing depth is a mere fabrication. The exhibition showcases a varied range of newly commissioned mixed media works, from film and photography to performance and installation, complicating the relationship between flatness and three-dimensionality by bringing the artificial nature of what we often consider as natural or normal to the surface.

Smeared States seductively urges you to reverse your gaze. The exhibition draws you into an alluring interior filled with fleshy projections that multiply, reflect and leak outside of their frames. With works both theatrically staged and partially concealed, we invite you to blend in and experience the morphing qualities of fading.

In the context of  Smeared States the following stories were shared on our Universe.

The exhibition borrows its title from a term used in quantum mechanics that describes the uncollapsed state of an electron before a measurement is enacted upon it that would define whether its state is a particle or a wave. Furthermore, to ‘smear’ alludes to both marking but also soiling an object by blurring its outlines.


Open gallery
Smeared States (2019) - Lotte Stekelenburg

14 June: Opening – Smeared States / 18.00 – 22.00
22 June: Film screening – Kerry Downey & GHOST @ Tender Center / 19.00 – 22.00
5 July: Performance reading – Slow Reading Club @ showroom / 20.00 – 00.00
26 July: Performance – Gardening Disorder by Nina Glockner @ showroom / 19.00 – 20.00
11 August: Team MAMA IRL – Smeared Quiz @ WORM Slash Gallery / 18:00 – 22:00

About HOME

HOME is the leitmotiv by which we encourage conversation about conceptions regarding belonging, representation and identification. HOME is a fundament, the place you return to and anchorpoint for the journey onward. HOME (offline as well as online) is the start of feeling connect to others. Under the name HOME we also present exhibitions in the showroom of MAMA. In collaboration with young makers we express interpretations about HOME | IN REAL LIFE | NETWORKS.


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