The Milk of Human Kindness – Markus Åkesson & Lucy Glendinning /// Galerie Da-End, Paris /// 9 Jan
Lady Macbeth: Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be / What thou art promis’d. Yet do I fear thy nature,
/ It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness / To catch the nearest way.
William Shakespeare, Macbeth (act 1, scene 5, 15-18)
After participating in exhibitions at the Musée Cognacq-Jay, the Musée de la Halle Saint-Pierre or the Royal Abbey of Saint-Riquier, British sculptor Lucy Glendinning and Swedish painter Markus Åkesson return to the Galerie Da-End to present their most recent works. Reunited for the first time, the two artists have decided in this exhibition to engage in a dialogue between their respective worlds.
Making the human gure their main research subject, they deliver a body of paintings and sculptures with a persistent sense of unease. In Lucy Glendinning’s work, the living is going through physical evolutions. Half-animals, half-humans, her hybrid beings are the fruit of genetic engineering that has led manking, in a close future, to modify its own genome. «In these works I am beginning an exploration of the animal within us,» she explains. «Looking at the idea that children are closer to the animal instinct than adults. I am interested in our subconscious, how this irrepressible instinct affects us.» The artist de facto reconsiders the ancient debate opposing nature to culture in the light of the current ecological changes. As the global population grows to past the point of sustainability, does this bring the animal instinct to the forefront ?
In response to these new works, Markus Åkesson also explores the idea that people are not always what they seem. Dissimulating their real intentions to the audience, the juvenile characters to whom the artist gives life with his brushstrokes appear from behind, ducking their head or with a masked face. Their soul weightiness, though kept at a distance, nevertheless manifests itself because of the omnipresence of skulls ornating their attire. Shaping the human face like a mirror at the surface of which each hardship seems to show, Åkesson never stops delving deeper this enigmatic in-between word of his.
Double-dealing seems to be the key to understand the artists’ work, and also a way for them to pay tribute to the notions of ambivalence and imperiousity of subconcious drives, as highlighted in the tragedy Macbeth.