The Last Opening Pre-Lockdown. Interview with Kyp Malone Lemsalu.

It seems like years ago, but so do most things these days, don’t they in our collective Covid 19, Octavia Butlerian Parable Of The Sower, Orwellian moment.

It was on February 29th, yes I remember it well, at the advice and invitation of friend and curator Sofia Lemos, I biked down to the KW Institute for Contemporary Art for the opening of the Hassan Sharif exhibition I Am The Single Work Artist. Oh my bad, for those not hip, I’m based in Berlin, Germany and as you can tell by the date we were pre-lockdown. So let me reminisce: The Hassan Sharif exhibition is both poetic and visceral and I was very moved by his sculptural works. I must admit that works which employ found objects often speak to me in deafening decibels. There’s a certain epistemological language encoded in forms that employ everyday objects: they demand of us to reevaluate notions of class and worth. You know those objects that we have a prior mundane relationship too, but when utilised as material supports in a contemporary art context they literally shape-shift into multilingual entities that almost speak in tongues. Unfortunately the show will be over before you can visit it or even have the liberty to mingle, so let me draw your attention to the two works pictured here, and if at a later time you have the opportunity to view Hassan Sharif’s work please don’t hesitate. At the same venue I bumped into some friends who told me that a performance that was about to start in another exhibition at KW on the upper floor and, lo and behold, I bumped into an ex-band member friend of mine, the inimitable Christina Wheeler, who informed me that a mutual friend, Brooklyn based musician/visual artist Kyp Malone, was in town and in fact he was the performer. Kyp and his partner, Kris Lemsalu Malone, along with their friend Michele Pagel are exhibiting on the third floor gallery, with their collaboration, titled Love Song Sing – Along.

A deft use of mise en scène is lavishly applied in Kris Lemsalu Malones art practice which is comprised of sculpture installation and performance. Her persona and attire is also intrinsically connected to that aforementioned mise en scène flair. On entering the third floor gallery space at KW we are projected into a Lewis Carrolesque type fairy tale space. In this warm inviting zoomorphic setting we are confronted by a stationary deadpan, top hatted, giant swan who appears to be ferrying two mythic passengers, a hare and a jaguar, plus a few extra projecting arms with waving hands, to someplace – somewhere I don’t know. One can read a certain mischievous foreboding in the layers of this brightly coloured sheen and gloss sculpture, which seemingly floats or drifts on a light blue lake of net fabric. This scene is encircled by totemic birch trees incised with padlocks created by Michele Pagels, they appear to be witnesses and guardians. In a nut shell,  Love Song Sing – Along is a very cohesive collaboration. I came away with the conviction that Kris’s self penned mythology moves into realms of animated dualities that invite escape from the obduracies of our current pandemic time. So good peoples, if you get a chance, I would eagerly suggest you pop on over to the KW and join the masquerade.

This entire extravaganza is complemented and embraced by Kyps un-stretched figurative paintings which are fragile to the point of palimpsest. They border on fairy tale narratives in a utopian dreamtime landscape. These narratives float in zones of both autobiographical and phantasmagorical realities. The colour choice is one of pastel hues which Malone paints onto very fine cotton cloth. The paintings, although suspended on the walls, wave like flags or sails in the wind. There is something refreshingly ungrounded in this installation – a cry for freedom in our all too restricted earthly conundrums. Let’s just tell it like it is, one can actually feel the love in this collaboration. This, my dear blogger’s, is my humble attempt to take you there.

Kyp’s solo performance, which had the same title as the exhibition, Love Song Sing- Along, was a very chilled out affair. Kyp played and programmed an array of synths, loopers, beat boxes and processors. It was a real time free-flow-happening – an inclusive partnership that collapsed the performer/audience hierarchy.

Kyp distributed various percussion toys and split the audience into sections by giving them harmonies to sing which crescendoed into a Love Song Sing- Along mantra type chant. Kyp, as some of you might know, is a member of the highly acclaimed, unique, Brooklyn-based band TV on the Radio that plays an extremely eclectic style of music. They have delivered some absolute gems like Happy Idiot, Cookie Mountain, I was a Lover, etc, etc. Kyp is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer and producer. He was cool enough in his busy schedule to hang out at my studio and do an interview in which we covered a lot of ground. One should never turn the camera off till the interviewee has departed, which is what I did – just when Kyp mentioned that his Grandad had played horn in the orchestra of Jazz giant Fletcher Henderson. So now for more info please check out the Kyp video.

I know iv’e been quiet of late but no fear more new posts are coming your way very very soon. Please stay Safe N Healthy, Hugs from a social distance, Satch.

Scroll down to see interview with Kyp Malone.

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Kris Lemsalu Malone, Love Song Sing-Along (Detail), 2019/2020, installation view of the exhibition Love Song Sing-Along at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin 2020, Courtesy the artists,  Photo: Frank Sperling
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Kyp Malone Lemsalu at the opening performance of the exhibition Love Song Sing-Along at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin 2020, Courtesy the artists,  Photo: Frank Sperling 

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