13 March — 11 October, 2020
Rubbish, Dipping Sauce, Grass, Peonie, Bum
In the exhibition Rubbish, Dipping Sauce, Grass, Peonie, Bum visitors of Fotografiska will partake in parts of the three projects that Maisie Cousins has dedicated the last five years of her life to. Here, the series are gathered and intertwined, along with a book by the same name, into an imaginative completeness complimented by a fourth series Mercado, and a video work. It’s a series where intuition takes on the roll as guide, where no one can predict, or even define what it is this artist and photographer has created with her visually stunning impressions. By some it’s considered disgusting, by others brilliantly fascinating. For Cousins however, it doesn’t matter. She is simply following her intuition, and it may take her wherever it wishes in those hyperreal compositions that depict everyday objects from domestic environments transformed into hallucinogenic images, for us to take part of with our own imagination.
often playfully investigative
Her expression is genuinely personal, often playfully investigative, and makes the spectator consider what is actually up and what is down, what is pretty and what is foul, here in this world of ours. Join in on this journey that is as energising as it is meditative, a journey into Maisie Cousins magically enhanced view on lost parts of our
Through her macro photography of life when it’s at its most genuine; with everything from soggy fruits, zoomed in body parts, beautiful plant parts, leftover pasta garnished with plastic babies to jelly guck and beetles, we, the spectators, are sucked into the choice of feeling enjoyment or to be horrified from the details. Whether it is products which we discard, and that show the aftermath of human consumption in Rubbish and Dipping Sauce; or Grass peonie bum, where the human form is in the centre of the frame: all is gathered in the exhibition Rubbish, Dipping Sauce, Grass, Peonie, Bum now opening at Fotografiska Stockholm 13 March-31 May.
I am not driven by any ambition to be considered an artist. For me, art is about a strong feeling of instinct that needs to be ‘let out’. My creations are driven by intuition and are a constant factor in my everyday life...
...Looking at a strange object on the street, an odd fruit at the market, or something that actually looks repulsive, together they can create an entity, a context, and sometimes even a sort of harmonious connection between them. Often after they’ve been allowed to melt together for a bit in this “twilight zone” the strangest things appear, that I could never have accounted for beforehand. They are allowed to be themselves for a bit, and later when I return with my camera I instantly know, there’s the picture! It isn’t until quite a while after that I start seeing the patterns, never in the moment, says Maisie Cousins
It's about letting things come to her
Having a clear plan of what she wants to achieve, that isn’t part of the process for Cousins. If anything, it’s the other way around. It’s about letting things come to her, to open up the possibility of those “in between” moments where something just happens. There, where the massive variety of the grayscale lives far beyond the black and white.
“For us at Fotografiska it is both fresh and exciting how Maisie Cousins’ photographs balances on the line between the beautiful and abhorrent. The photos are incredibly colourful, but they’re also sticky and sweaty closeups where the subjects have been squeezed, coloured and crushed. It becomes like the remnants of a massive feast, which is in turn arranged into a still life and then captured by Cousins in a way that captures the attention of the spectator”, says Exhibition Producer Jessica Jarl.
With her ability to create compositions that affect people, this is a photographer that walks her own path, never to be shaped by others. And it runs in the family: her mother, who went from being a successful graphic designer to becoming a midwife, is Cousins’s role model when it comes to following your inner voice.
“For me this type of photography is an opportunity to play, to test and examine things that are otherwise ignored in the clean-cut world of adults. There is no intellectual process behind it, rather it’s what comes naturally. The technology behind photography is something I generally consider unpleasantly arrogant, as it has a lingering craving to clearly define the moments it captures. When I was young I dreamt of painting, but because I shared my room with my sister there simply wasn’t space enough for it. The camera on the other hand is flexible, and with a macro lens I can get as close to the objects as I want, resulting in an easy and agile way of turning something small into something large”.
Her connection to authority has since primary school been characterised by an inner sense of resistance. A resistance towards being defined by others’ standards, to be put into a frame of how to be that’s too small and does not fit her. This in turn made her go to art school, a place that she hoped would give the students a platform to enable the search of their voice of expression. But alas, this wasn’t the case.
“It was almost entirely the opposite. It was a place where students were taught what to think regarding different arts, what was popularly considered pretty and trendy, rather than putting effort into inspiring youths to create their own expressions. I can’t stand it when things become too pretentious. So I went my own way. Much like I’ve left basically every waitress job I’ve had. When someone treats me unfairly, I refuse to accept it. Why should I? This isn’t in regard to some arrogant feeling of self-confidence, rather it stems from a fairly relaxed point of view on life, and a strong feeling of what I want to do with it. If I genuinely cared about the opinions of the people who think and say things about my work, it simply wouldn’t work, she says laughingly”.
The latest grand experience is parenthood, a phase she celebrates for its ability to detach one from one’s ego. A constant and dynamic artistic vision into everyday life to be inspired by.