JEANNE GAIGHER

tango

12.12.20 - 20.02.21

Stellenbosch

Solo Exhibition

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SMAC Gallery is proud to present tango, a solo exhibition by Jeanne Gaigher.

tango is a composite of the body and its terrain, a supple amalgam of tensions between the two. Unreliable architectures and mercurial protagonists ripen on the surface of Gaigher’s shredded and stitched canvas. Her compositions rot and bloom to a dream-logic, where painterly gestures dissolve and resolution is substituted with fluidity.

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You need to ask yourself: how can I massage this down?

A skew double of the window stretches across the floor. The light flickers on the checked linoleum as the man paces outside the shop. In her mind the strobe of his stride is the baseline from a blown speaker.

Of course each case is unique. You have to be sensitive to that, but they also need to understand that this is a business.

She got through the first part of her shift without difficulty but her body is beginning to ease its way down now.

I know what you’re saying. It’s hard to see the bigger picture, but the crucial thing about a shopping spree is that you need to make sure there’s room in the fridge. Do you know what I’m saying?

She melts onto the desk. Her cheek is sticky on its surface. She imagines her face and arms flattened and découpaged onto it. Each passing minute is a layer of varnish, embedding her further.

We’re so lucky to have you on the team, Alan, we really are. You’ve got an unusual eye, a capacity to see potential in the most unlikely places. But we need to remember that most of our buyers want happy, easy – not dark and challenging.

The bell rings as the door opens. She tears her cheek off the surface, jerks her body upright in the chair. A woman enters the shop, does a quick sweep with her eyes and exits.

It takes her a few minutes to slip back into the rhythm of the man pacing outside. She begins to sink again.

I’m not saying dumb it down, I’m saying be kind to your clientele.

She folds off the chair.

No, no, of course not, that’s not what I mean.

The checked linoleum opens up and absorbs her.

You’re a vital part of this team and we chose to work with you because – Alan, Alan, hold on a second, I just need to, I just want to –

She gazes up as the floor reforms itself above her. The checks realign. She is submerged, her body no longer an independent unit but part of the matter beneath the shop. The ring of the door is a distant sound. She feels the vibration of the man’s feet as he enters the shop. She can see clearly through the floor, but the man’s movements lag. He pauses with his feet directly above her face. The undersides of his shoes are evenly rippled, the rubber etched in tight waves. His body is dramatically foreshortened. Her laughter echoes inside and outside of her. The expression belongs both to her, and to the matter in which she is embedded. The man hesitates, frowns, and moves towards the door. His voice comes to her as if through water.

Alan, Alan, I –

His steps fall back into their rhythm. She feels it in her body now. She feels the warmth of the light from the window on her face. It shines in her eyes between each step.

Text by Chloë Reid

 
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