All the artists in Hybridish are hybrid thinkers, who are offering alternatives to the rule of straight thinking. So what? Though we are all natural hybrid thinkers and capable of assembling a frightening array of contradictory thoughts in our heads at any one time, we have been taught for years to think in one way, to delude us into thinking we were marching in one straight line of progress. The artists here are enjoying helping us out of our straitjackets.
Feminism was a powerful motivation for change, as the straight line was basically a male conceit if not delusion (think of Brancusi’s Endless Column). When Paula Rego was at college her teachers did not stop her from drawing forbidden stories: as she was a young girl, they did not take her seriously. She has been one of the pioneers in putting the twisted and convoluted story back in the mainstream of art. Wangechi Mutu and Marcia Kure refuse to put the Western male vision of identity central stage. They show how we are hybrids. The first sign work by Laure Prouvost that I saw back in 2011 read YOU ARE GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION and ever since she has been offering a labyrinth of mental path options. Hale Tenger puts a different perspective on male phallic-led thoughts and female dreams. Turkish Delight is just part of our rollercoaster makeup. I take comfort from Leyla Gediz’s Crab Trainer. It takes one of Turkey’s most famous satirical paintings, The Tortoise Trainer of Osman Hamdi Bey, and seems to be offering a little hope. Whereas The Tortoise Trainer was making fun of the slowness of Ottoman reforms, the situation is reversed with the Crab Trainer in that it is a young mind looking at all the different shapes in his playground. As long as his mind can go sideways, diagonally, curvaceously there are possibilities.