‘Out of Hand, Out of Mind’ was conceived out of an illustrator’s desire to create the otherworldly on an unexplored medium and scale of a gallery, but also out of fear of occupying a space amid a vexing clutter of ideas. Yet, characteristic of MessyMsxi’s practice, what seemed a barrier to developing one’s work was turned into a transformative force. Her ambivalence had manifested in Heavy Hands, Heavy Head – a larger-than-life mass of convoluted 142 metre-long arms reminiscent of a brain, based on a character she illustrated in 2012. Far from a conceptual postulation, this exhibition is therefore more about the laying bare of a self-reflexive practice first developed from a drive of “illustrating” a sculpture, into a presentation of works from the hand-drawn to the animated, that bear recurring figurative and narrative motifs related to Heavy Hands, Heavy Head – marked by the unusually long arms and attempts of turning shame on its head.
MessyMsxi’s use of arms as a visual trope across her work has been an exercise of self-portrayal, appearing as skipping ropes for an ostracised girl to an entangled bundle of a character’s head that inspired Heavy Hands, Heavy Head. While this could seem an egotistical self-preoccupation, the repeated portrayal of an abnormal bodily feature one was teased for has been her means of ‘staring at one’s fears and strangeness and subverting them into something that could possibly resonate with, or empower, others’.
CURATOR: SHIRLEY SURYA
PROJECT DATE: 2015