For the exhibition In the tame beast’s eye: a grotto at Zarinbal Khoshbakht the artists Brunhilde Bordeaux-Groult, Tom Hardwick-Allan and Paul DD Smith present works bound together in a symbiotic arrangement. Painted silk, glazed ceramic and carved wood emphasise the handmade and a shared sensibility that mobilises pre-modern motifs. In form and content, the artists address the perennial duality of ‚tame and wild‘. This binary concept of order and transgression is also what underlies a discourse that dates back to the middle ages, when the court and the wild woods were defined as antagonizing realms. Simultaneously, this discourse provided metaphors for the internal struggle between erotic and excessive desires and the impulse to discipline them.
Now, mutations of the old courtly etiquette seem to permeate through the seductive apparatus of surveillance capitalism, and like at all the courts of the past, being disciplined by others and disciplining oneself, the loss and gain of autonomy, are hard to differentiate. An internal wilderness, the grounds for the private self to stretch its gnarled appendixes, seems to be shrinking as rapidly as the wilderness outside. A pictorial repertoire from pre-modern times is proving of persisting relevance to grasp the effects of threats that are becoming ever more structural and visually unrepresentable.