Passive Potential at Tusk, Chicago, IL,
August 18 - September 10, 2023
Passive Potential is a two person exhibition of textile-based work by Abbey Muza and Maria Szakats at Tusk in Chicago, Illinois. In this show, the artists bring together two series of woven, knotted, and embroidered textiles. In Passive Potential, the two question what it means for a textile to act as an “object,” considering its relationship to production, function, image, space and form. Influenced by Kathrin Busch’s essay “P - Passivität,” Muza and Szakats gave in to this approach : a collaborative work born out of what seems like inaction, passivity, or pure receptivity, which enabled inspiration. The method does not condemn inactivity, but, as a passion or inspiration, animates all activity and is also the expression of a radical sensibility that makes it impossible for the subject to remain untouched. Inspiration means that something alien enters one’s own self: “otherness-in-the-self.”
Reflecting Heidegger’s term of Thrownness (“Geworfenheit”), Muza and Szakats accept the arbitrariness of “being thrown into the process.” Woven works by Muza are hung from armatures, mimicking the forms textiles take in space - a cloth draped from a hook, a towel bunched over a drying rack, a curtain, the way clothes fall over limbs and on the body. Images of light flares cover the textile’s surfaces, brief flickers of time recorded by the camera and reprinted and distorted into the assembled textiles. Knotted and embroidered pieces by Szakats function between painting and textile - their brushed mohair surfaces depicting seemingly random and ghost-like images of space satellite images, fauna, and flora, blurred and superficially in motion from the movement of the fibers across their threaded surfaces.