Luki Essender: Of Yous


Exhibiting artist: Luki Essender
Text: James Taylor-Foster
Production and coordination: Zlata Borůvková
Technical support: Jozef Vančo, Oliver Kostic
Graphic design: Lubica Segečová
Public programs: Katarína Slezáková in collaboration with JKS collective
Communication: Zlata Borůvková, Katarína Pirháčová
Media partners: Artalk, Kapitál, Flash Art, GoOut

I’ve been dreaming about flowers. Dry, high-hanging fruit. The sorts of flowers that exist only in lore – buttermilk yellow, neoprene blue, post-it pink. They dangle gauze-like, shimmering through a soft, wheaty light that pours through cracks in a sun-bleached wall. These flowers are dead, processed, prepared. They are fragile, serene, shivering in the wake of my shallow, sleeping breath.

This place is cosmic, eternal, fading, lost. The kind of room in which you might knead dough, tread grapes, or butcher meat. Beneath the flowers sit rows of willow-woven baskets, full of nothing. They could have grown here; they might have fallen from a tree. They are too far away to touch. No one enters my dream, but I see shadows traced across the ground. The self-contained stillness of it all allows my mind to wander inwards. I squint to see a version of myself standing still in the rafters above, fingering bundles of dried leaves. I recognise the single arm stretched behind my back, hand pressed against the sacrum. This is a dream in which I gaze at myself, and I never look back.

Of Yous is Luki Essender’s (Ilava, 1995) first solo exhibition in Slovakia. It brings to bear the artist’s promiscuous practice, centering on performativity and language, to the scale of a sculptural installation – a new commission in the theme of New Agora. Essender approaches nature as queer, summoning a system of objects that constructs the semblance of place. Sculptural forms, architectural typologies, and visual cues are recast as a speculation, a hallucination – a world. Meticulous in its delineation, the exhibition reveals the artist’s process in navigating the threats and possibilities of a multitudinous self: autonomous, healing, and frozen in transition. The space that results is, in fact, against space.

– James Taylor-Foster

Supported by public funding by the Slovak Arts Council. The exhibition is a part of the international project Islands of Kinship: a Collective Manual for Sustainable and Inclusive Art Institutions, co-financed by the European Union.