“IMPURE MILK” is an exhibition that was created by a duo of artists, Magali Daniaux and Cédric Pigot. It operates in layers, where skulls and collages are the visible part of buried data to be discovered whilst listening to tales.
Five animal skulls are displayed in the gallery space, and catch the imagination with their hybrid appearance. Their surface is coated with paints that make them look like mother-of-pearl, enamel and china. They evoke the last coating of fancy car bodies, or a tricky plastic surgery operation. The animals’ tusks were copied and made of steel, in the style of chrome steel hubcaps or surgical prosthesis.
These receptacles for brain thus highlighted show off their hollow face. The whole set could very well bring to mind some esoteric ritual celebrating the invisible organ, and the chosen mammals could remind one of totems preserving the mnemonic data of these skulls-objects. They are laid out in a triangle- Coordonnées (Coordinates) is the swine skull with genetically modified skin that makes it similar to human skin, the flesh of which is eaten in most parts of the world. It sits just beside both Disgrâce Sanglante (Bloody Disgrace) which is a calf skull and a symbol of opulence, and Vaisseau Divin (Divine Vessel), the skull of an eland that leans on its long horns and describes an erectile movement.
Extrémiste Hindou (Hindu Extremist) is fixed to the wall at man’s height. It is an impressive warthog skull that seems to challenge us. Its massive volume, as well as its double set of tusks pointing upward, makes it the most virile animal of the bestiary. The owner of the trophy will be able to take off at leisure the beautiful excrescences of this wild pig, and use them in a way that shall be left at the discretion of the owner.
These objects are both archaic and futuristic; they are the leftovers of a feast that were transmuted into precious relics. These animal carcasses are transposed into the glamorous universe of finish fetish and glossy. Their satiny envelope conceals their vulnerable appearance. They are spared the yellowing and the irrevocable cracks; they are captured in smoothness and stand with eternal youth ahead of them. The blood horror and flesh subjected to decrepitude have been drained off these skulls. The fine metallic goads sticking out of two of them evoke this internal suction right through to the bone.
Sitting close to the skulls, headphones play stories, the tone of which results from news report, sci-fi and video games all at once. They are the bearers of multiple narratives, and generators of sensations. They set in motion a network of significations through which one is guided whilst contemplating the collages that are fixed to the chair rails. These assemblages of surgical precision are made of elements taken from American cartoons from the 70s, Chinese photo-stories and Japanese mangas. They graft together wild visions to describe erotic and bloody scenarios, all as soaking with action as the audio stories. Following the events of the significantly named « Grand Singe » (“Ape”), « Coordonnées » («Coordinates ») and « Vaisseau Divin » (“Divine Vessel”), but also « Disgrâce Sanglante » (“Bloody Disgrace”) and « Extrémiste Hindou » (“Hindu Extremist”), we go through a chaotic, protean, and dense universe which make up the visual reminiscence of the collages.
In the course of a delirious odyssey between Singapore, Miami, and Guatemala City where it’s all about clan war, the advent of science, new medicine, and metaphysical encounter with a “God-cock”, we meet a “breakaway group of the Moon sect”, and partisans of the “Cool Core”, “a nutrition specialist for obese children”, and a “hardcore vegan”. Some goods traffic passes through this universe. A universe hardly more exaggerated than ours. “Orange pills” circulate in the night, “punnets of seeds and flower pistil” are “sold for a small fortune on floating markets”, and “Argentinian oxen carcasses filled with little girls’ genitals and small bags of drugs” are “distributed by the “Pro-genitors of the Rose Alliance”. Caustic humour, wild visions, and delirious intermingling describe a world where all the excessiveness of our own world seems to have been agglomerated into figures that were new until today. It is an excessiveness that is nested in fantasies and beliefs of a new genre, and released into barbaric scenarios, the inventiveness of which has never been contradicted by history. To nourish their fiction, the duo of artists did not hesitate to pick bits of sentences from the Internet, or from other media. They mutually exchanged those embryos of information with each other, using them as some material to proliferate and reshape through chance, lucky finds, and couplings of “convulsive beauty”. What is extraordinary about the collage is that, whatever manipulation it’s been subjected to, it still has an unsettling core of reality that’s already there. Magali Daniaux and Cédric Pigot show us the fragments of an expanding universe where the rustling and pluralist memory of our contemporary world lives on.
Marguerite Pilven, 2010.