By Erika Hirugami, MAAB | Founder & CEO at CuratorLove
Anticipating the upcoming exhibition GlitterBold, artists Matthew Carter and Abdul Mazid embarked on a collaboration (a first-time experience for both). Untitled Disaster was born on a rainy afternoon in a nearly empty parking lot, somewhere in the city of Angels.
Untitled Disaster consists of a burgundy Toyota Camry, which has been intervened by the artists. Said vehicle was recently in a collision and is no longer operable, a great portion of the driver’s side has been wrecked, and one of its windows is shattered. Carter and Mazid coated with glitter portions of the vehicle in a quasi-primitive performative action.
The conception of Untitled Disaster sprung out of a conversation had during a recent visit to Matthew Carter's studio, at which Mazid and I found ourselves discussing car crashes and glitter. On that occasion, we spoke about art, glitter, economic concerns, collisions and my inability to comprehend how glitter could be masculine.
Glitter having predominant connotations as a craft, mostly relegated to female activities, for me, lived in the intersectionality of pleasantness and kitsch delicacy. That is, until today. I arrived a few minutes into the action to find Carter and Mazid filling water grenades with blue paint. I was shocked, to say the least. Mazid quickly explained that I should take every precaution not to be harmed in what I was soon to witness.
Carter and Mazid took turns displaying intense force and thus thrusting these explosive exchanges one by one toward the vehicle. On selected occasions, the small missiles would fail to burst causing exasperation, mild hints of rage, and uncontrollable dissatisfaction from both Carter and Mazid. As a result, the consecutive interaction would be met with even more force, deliberately increasing in roughness.
While trying to keep me safe from being splattered or harmed, Mazid would often direct my positioning. This conscientious exchange between us inevitably brought about a conversation about the primitive nature of man. It was concluded that contemporary man does not, in fact, indulge the primal side to him any longer, yet cannot truly escape it, as it is his innate instinct, even if it can only flourish under restraints.
I found myself lost in the scene performed by the actions of Carter and Mazid, time and time again. Untitled Disaster was entrancing to witness. Glitterfying a car had turned glitter violent, it was as if the medium had become other to its true nature. The feminine craft connotations were tossed aside and instead, glitter was granted an almost disturbing sense of passion, it became forceful, rough, unrestrained, vicious, violent, dangerous.
I kept my distance as instructed by Mazid, yet Untitled Disaster somehow managed to invade me. I was not alone, I saw two glitter beards, a glitter nose, glitter shoes, a glitter behind, and oh so much more. Glitter violated the inner sanctity of my personal space and managed to violently infringe upon me without so much as a warning, while it absolutely took over the artists themselves. I’ve never before had glitter violently attacked me. I kept staring at one of my fingers covered in this blue substance, so foreign yet enchanting, I felt vulnerable at the site of this invasion, as if the violence of the medium was somehow crawling upon me.
Witnessing such unrestrained emergence of force, made me fear at times for my safety, it made me hyper-aware of glitter’s otherness, which had been obscure to me as of today. I had the opportunity to witness this interaction in relation to the artists themselves, yet simultaneously removed from partaking in the creation of Untitled Disaster itself. It was fascinating to witness these two men interacting with such a delicate yet violent medium. This interaction felt so far removed from each of their practices, yet simultaneously at the core of their aesthetic queries.
Mazid and I, who had previously spoken about the economic value of art, continued to discuss said implications during the performative action. We seem to problematize the convergence of aesthetics and economy at a philosophical level. Untitled Disaster raised many queries about profitability, the performative nature of mankind, the whimsical aspirations we need to bestow upon our work (he as an artist, and I as curator), the violent nature of actions, and so much more.
At the core of Mazid’s practice lies questioning creation and destruction of value itself. Untitled Disaster granted Carter and Mazid a well-expressed appraisal of simultaneous creation and destruction of object, value and medium exploration, thus marking the early stages to a glitter-coated concern that has been instigated, one I very much look forward to witnessing him transcend.