Critics’ Picks

E.M.C. Collard, bud canari, 2015, oil on canvas, 9 x 7".

E.M.C. Collard, bud canari, 2015, oil on canvas, 9 x 7".


“Something huge, something major, something great and disastrous”

GSL Projekt
Liegnitzer Str. 34
November 18–December 23, 2018

In this unusual but highly compelling pairing, curator Michael Rade has brought together the paintings of E.M.C. Collard and the texts of Brian Tennessee Claflin, the latter in the form of audio recordings. Claflin was a fixture of Berlin nightlife who ran PORK, the orgiastic performative be-in at the gay darkroom club Ficken3000 until his untimely death in 2014. Less known is his body of work enveloping a diverse array of media, including painting, photography, and writing. In Mumbai and Berlin, text fragments posthumously recorded by performance artist Jasper Siverts, we are offered a glimpse into two modes of narrative being that feel like extensions of Claflin’s modus operandi: the pursuit of a nomadism and a constant questioning and reconsidering of his own life endeavors.

Collard is a similarly undeservedly under-known artist. In the paintings from her ongoing 2014– series “a genealogy of plants that stand in the shade at night,” she hones in on details of plants that may or may not exist. Flora takes on the character of fauna; here, at least, they live. There’s the clitoral bud canari, 2015, a species from Venus or Mars, perhaps, with blue buds of condensation glimmering on a central yellow orb. With the series extended in a number of works not included here, but in a publication accompanying the exhibition, we see clearly that Collard has brought the still life into the twenty-first century; thank god we have someone to invent nature for us, since it will likely all be gone soon.

Down in the basement, a final surprise: the song “Bull,” recorded by Claflin, aka PRIX, in collaboration with Snax as a punk-rock ode to Berlin’s gay sex clubs. The pukey squawks emitted by methed-out marys getting fisted in the darkroom backed by a pickup kit of drums, snare, and cymbal: one of the city’s unofficial anthems. Collard’s spindly vines on the wall, twisting to the soundtrack.

A paean to all forms of organicity—and the rot that impels it.