For this year’s edition of VARIOUS OTHERS, Sperling is collaborating with Lucas Hirsch, Düsseldorf, and VEDA, Florence, to bring together three innovative female artists whose practices transcend their foundation in drawing.

Artists: Kinke Kooi, Anna McCarthy, Monique Mouton
In cooperation with Lucas Hirsch, Düsseldorf & VEDA, Florence
September 9– October 14, 2023
Sperling, München


Thinking with natural processes such as overgrowing, transmutation, or decay, Anna McCarthy and Kinke Kooi play with culturally applicated gender connotations: oysters and pearls, the soft and the pink. Kinke Kooi’s paintings are inhabited by pearls, mirroring oysters and mollusks in Anna McCarthy’s art. The idea of hospitality, bringing strangers into one’s home, takes on a metaphorically morbid tone of resistance given the fact that the intruder to the home of the oyster gets captured and transformed. In a statement, Kinke Kooi expands on the topic of hospitality and stresses the importance of interrupting homogenous worlds: “For me, in a strange way, decoration has to do with making connections. That’s why I fill in spaces in between: to dissolve opposition. To be overwhelmed by nature is to dissolve into a bigger whole […] Inviting strangers into your house can create complications. It is the same with ideas: to be open to new information also creates complications. I have always been suspicious of purity. Purity discriminates. Purity is about exclusion rather than inclusion. When one is open to guests and new ideas, it interrupts one’s autonomy. I like that thought […] I think femininity still deserves and needs to be visualized from more perspectives. I would like to fill in these gaps in our visual information.”
Resistance as an act can take many forms. Subversively, it can be found in all of the exhibition’s artistic approaches. Working with paper, Monique Mouton creates sculptures in the form of custom-made frames, in which paper is only superficially her main medium. The preparation, fixation, and processing of the paper in the form of cutting, dispersing fluids, and paints are equally important: „My material parameters work as a scaffolding for exploring how a painting might hover between discreetness and porosity.” Monique Mouton doesn’t take the medium paper verbatim, the reverberations of the whole rather “exist within the boundaries of a given work then ping outwards between paintings, architectural surroundings, in the eye, etc. and back again. Washes of color absorb into the paper or wood panels and the surface is just another edge.”⁠
Seemingly inobtrusive, the art of Kinke Kooi, Monique Mouton, and Anna McCarthy take on an afterlife by slowly revealing their inner workings with a modus of oblique resistance at its core. To bring together these diverse positions in their autonomy yet also in unison leaves room for new understandings and receptions.

Monique Mouton (*1984, Fort Collins, Colorado; lives and works in New York) positions her practice by posing a quiet resistance to received categories and hierarchies within art. With painting being the fulcrum from which her work extends, the methods and materials she uses breach the territories of drawing and sculpture as well. This investment in querying the parameters of painting extends to considering the interplay between the works and their display, including how framing, architecture, and arrangement are all contingencies that affect the experience of the work. Conversely, the work itself alters the structures it appears in, and each show is simply one iteration of the possible dynamics of a given group of objects.

Kinke Kooi (*1961 in Leeuwarden, Netherlands, lives and works in Arnhem, Netherlands) uses her art to circle around the idea of the inclusive and exclusive. Often dealing with the subtleties of language and examining them in a poetic and sometimes humorous way for gender-specific characteristics, Kooi demonstrates a particular flair for fine, elaborate drawings that are captivating in their richness of detail. They are distinguished, for example, by the use of flowers, vines, and tentacles that slowly evolve around sentences or objects like beads. These draped, dreamy collages often contrast with the clear positions they take. Kinke Kooi draws intricate interior worlds in which she verbalizes ideas and surrounds them with objects that are charged with meaning by the artist and play throughout her work. Many of the thoughts revolve around the role of the artist in the art world and her position as a woman in an overall social context. They are intimate and at the same time universal statements.

Anna McCarthy (*1981, lives and works in Munich) is constantly seeks new forms to express topics that have collective relevancy as well as personal urgency. Her work is quick and dirty. Improvised and raw, charged with personal experience as a reflection of wider topics. Her sharp observation and wit challenge the status quo, always laughing, together with the viewer, in the face of fear. Her methods of production mirror the content – cheap materials, reusables, always in flux. She possesses a talent to astutely comment on societal ongoings whilst refraining from preaching, subtly dismantling power constructs as she goes. Her work is a modern-day amalgam of multilayered readings that take the viewer into a narration that weaves in and out of thought patterns in those similar to one’s own.