FOLD is pleased to present Rock Paper Scissors a two person show by Jo Hummel and Ellen Hyllemose.
The title of this exhibition playfully takes from the ancient game of the same name which reportedly originated in China during the Ming dynasty. Often used as a fair choosing method between two people, similar to coin flipping, drawing straws or throwing dice, in order to settle a dispute or make an unbiased group decision. Unlike truly random selection methods, however, rock paper scissors can be played with a degree of skill by recognizing and exploiting non-random behaviour in opponents.
The idea of chance is something both artists have mentioned when talking about their individual practices. When working with certain material a lot can be left to chance, one hands over a certain amount of control over the finished work to the nature of the materials used in its production; the physical qualities and limitations, to a certain extent, dictate the outcome.
When visualising Rock Paper Scissors we are presented with imagery of the hands of the players forming the different shapes and actions needed to play, if we transpose this imagery to the hands of the artists during the process of making, then the visceral nature of making becomes apparent, as does the notion of trial and error.
Rock Paper Scissors also references the materials, tools and visual tropes that both artists utilise in the process of making, for this exhibition the focus is on paper. Each artist works with paper either as the medium of choice in their practice, or it has a strong role within their gamut. Whether it is collaged, over-painted or cut into ribbons, the way that paper as an object is treated, how it is manipulated, adorned and ultimately how it reacts, is something both artists explore. This engaging approach to paper, results in work that has a physicality: Shreds of paper hang in huge sculptural forms that transcend the limits of the original material, paper is collaged in large scale murals and hung from batons, appearing at once as both solid and fragile. How the paper is treated and manipulated could be said to refer to the tools the artists use, if you like, the Scissors from the title.
The Rock is certainly landscape. The landscape of the gallery, urban and rural environments all have their influence on both artists to varying degrees. Hyllemose’s hanging objects originate as paintings on paper depicting the rural landscapes of Denmark, once cut up and rearranged some form delicate loops framed behind glass, others in large organic sculptural compositions. There are also references to the landscapes of the mind and in particular notions of determinism and freewill. Hummel runs experiments with paper, where the process often determines the outcome and provides a safe arena for improvisation, a place where rational procedures can co- exist alongside intuition.
Ultimately Rock Paper Scissors is a game played by two people to determine an outcome, settle a dispute or assist with a choice. For this show the artists have come together to produce work that pushes the limits of the material qualities of paper, leaving do doubt of the validity and versatility of the medium.