Sleepy Servant

Sleepy Servant

Jenny Kalliokulju & Mikko Kuorinki

4. – 12. June 2021


This exhibition, Sleepy Servant, is a meandering duet by my friends Cook and Collector. I have known them both for a while. I have lived and worked with them, and learned to know them by scent. And the closer I observe, the bigger my astonishment and admiration grows. The tenderness of their tentacles, the flow of their channels guide me incessantly into places I have never seen nor imagined. At first it might seem that these two voices – the operatic frill and the microtonal hum – have little in common, yet when echoing into each others, they create frequencies that tickle the skin and shake the inner organs irresistibly. Their unconventional harmonies turn the whole room into a sound box vibrating.

Cook lives in a house surrounded by a garden, growing the strangest things on earth. Blooming with fruits in the shape of letters, sentences that snake and fork like a vine, colorful characters budding from the soil, the garden is alive and alert. Cook grows all things imaginable, and unimaginable, to be mixed into a dizzying soup, fermented into tangy pastes, broths boiled out of pebbles and peonies. Intoxicating with fragrance these dishes tilt the horizon and narrate the world anew with a never-ending loop and a wobbly rhyme. They make me stumble with my conception of front and back, here and now, then and there, turning them all into what-if’s. The soup of this Cook reorganizes the inner of my mouth, creating delicious choreographies for the tongue and teeth. It makes me sing.

Collector is a nomad on a constant move. A careful gaze swiping through streets, paths, alleyways, wastelands of material and virtual surroundings. Gently focusing on the minute detail, sensing the quiet buzz unreachable for the untrained ear. Collecting observations and objects. Listening to the tensions they create, the way they silently narrate the bodies and beings around. Picking up the jokes they tell. While Cook nourishes on narration, the Collector builds an alphabet of objects. This alphabet is a system for things to be seen. It guides my attention imperceptibly to the chasm between what I see and what I understand, forcing me to slow down, to look again. To question my preconceived idea of the thing, the room, my body, and all those bodies around me. Like Cook’s garden, this alphabet is alive and evolving.

And this is where Cook and Collector meet: in the language forming and falling apart. The duet vibrating in this room is a poem as an event. The characters and the props it operates with, are dancing. They all have a creature like quality, they have a presence, a voice and agency, and they are tangled into a web of connections and dialogues. This song, this vibration, moves me in every possible way. It touches me throughout, like a glove pulled inside out. But where is Sleepy Servant? To be honest, I do not know. Perhaps they are snoring somewhere behind the cowboys and carpets, in between the folds of the words and fabrics? Or perhaps, they got lost on the way and will arrive at any given moment.

Essi Kausalainen

The exhibition is supported by:

photography: Olof Nimar