Catharine Czudej

14 Apr 2018
9 Jun 2018
Ginerva Gambino
Kyffhäuserstr. 31
Cologne, 50674
Courtesy: the artist and Ginerva Gambino, Cologne

Courtesy: the artist and Ginerva Gambino, Cologne

In the text accompanying Catharine Czudej’s exhibition ‘Not books’, we meet John Barioni. John is a Californian with a goatee and an immovable trucker cap. John likes playing pool. He has a table in his basement; he runs a company called Barioni Cues. John is also a prolific YouTuber, who you might recognize from such hits as ‘OB SHAFT DISSECTION- STEP BY STEP’ (31,831 views) and ‘HOW TO MAKE A POOL TABLE BALL POLISHER’ (258,708). In this regard, the text notes, John is ‘the prototypical DIY-guy on YouTube’. For the lowest prices, he offers, to quote his website: ‘the highest quality products with out standing [sic] performance.’

DIY is the kernel of Czudej’s exhibition, or rather: the manner in which ‘making home’ is predominantly seen as a masculine operation, while ‘home-making’ is more readily viewed as a feminine activity. The former comes with tools, toil and an expectation of economic reward; the latter is bound up with ideas of consumption, motherhood and care. The press release quotes from Juliana Mansvelt’s Geographies of Consumption (2005): ‘male control of the physical environment’, expressed via exertions of pre-industrial labour, conjures a false impression of male dominance. In ‘Not books’, a show comprising, amongst other things, paintings, sculptures and modified mouse-traps, Czudej reclaims this right to ‘do it yourself’ as a genderless realm. One where you can make, if so inclined, a collection of home-made ball polishers. (Czudej has done just that.)

- Harry Thorne