Sometimes you just have to step outside your front door, take a deep breath, and you are off on your own Pilgrimage; or you can start with a bottle of food colouring and let a dribble of colour meander down your forehead, following its inevitable course. These are two journeys that have a starting point and venture into the unknown: only after they have been experienced, can sense be made.
It is the initial “Stepping Off” that is the catalyst for meaning.
This new exhibition by Joey Kötting is titled “Notes on Pilgrim(aging)”. It is a show about a journey, a pilgrimage of sorts; and formally, the show is a continued investigation into what painting is.
The journey starts on the ground floor with the diptych: “Pilgrim’s Way”, a painting and a video documenting a three day trek from London to Canterbury. These two works consist of exactly the same information, (8000+) still photographs, yet they elicit two completely different responses from the viewer: one makes you feel as if you are crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a row boat, the other inside a rocket-ship! Which one is which is dependent upon your own personal baggage. Seen together, they pose this question: are we, as a society, travelling along a slow, often painful, yet ultimately successful path into the future, or, are we rapidly heading into an out of control, tailspinning disaster??
As we move up to the second floor and through the show, we are asked to contemplate further on the idea of what a Pilgrimage is, and what it means to the individual. Some people crawl to Lourdes, while others journey to Mecca, suitcase in tow; the Art Lover may travel to Ghent to see the “Adoration of the Lamb”…. Inevitably, whichever path taken, the question of our own mortality and belief systems arise.
When we reach the top floor of the gallery, we are rewarded for our own trek with the artist’s 27 panelled MDF (Mobile Painting) titled “Communication Breakdown”. Kötting’s work is not a re-interpretation of the altarpiece which hangs in the Baafskathedraal, rather, the Van Eyck masterpiece served as a starting point for the entire show.