emprecion is the name of Caroline Wilkinson’s new exhibition at MOCA London. The show is made up of two distinct bodies of work which while not directly related to each other are both connected by her physical work practice as well as the element that chance has in their making. Both bodies were made at the same time, over a period of years, and they also demonstrate her will to transform material, wherein she clearly exerts a fine control over them. They are obviously made by hand and yet chance is also in play, in that the artist is never 100% clear where the holes she makes in the Bunnies or the feathery marks in the watercolours, will end up.
The Gold Bunnies are made from flattened gold foil taken off chocolate bunnies. Wilkinson then punctures the foil with hundreds and thousands of tiny holes with a sharp and precise needle. She often goes back and re-punctures the same hole to make its shape 'perfect'; an impossible undertaking. She does this using a large magnifying glass which would be needed to make out the actual differences in the holes. When the abstract grouping of holes is finished she places the foil between two sheets of glass so that they can be seen from either side, the gold printed or the silvery reverse. She says of them “The holes are my deliberate desecration, prompted by accident, but they become my intentional adornment. Rewriting Klee, I'm taking holes 'for a walk' (or joining the dots) with no preconceived idea what configuration will result.”
Wilkinson says of her watercolours “that their connotations are by contrast with the dispassionate Gold Bunnies visceral, internal, bodily”. The viewer can see and perhaps follow her brush strokes as she lays one wet colour on top of another. Once they dry they are finished, there is no going back to add another layer or re-punch a hole, as it were; they either ‘work’ or they do not and the viewer is not allowed to see those that don’t come up to her exacting standards. Those that do are quite beautiful to look at, deep and charged with the energy of their making. They have a memory of her hands moving across them as the bunnies have a memory of her hole punching, and that ghostly memory is like a history of making, a history of touch, a history of looking.
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