Julie Becker: (W)hole
259 19th St
Santa Monica, CA 90402
Frieze Walk-In Hours:
February 13–18, 12–4pm daily
“(the repetitive picking of one’s own skin; excoriation)” — Chris Kraus, What I Couldn’t Write, 2016
The ghost of Julie Becker inhabits a curious but often exploited place in the myth-making tendency of contemporary art. An artist who lived and died tragically, no longer present to craft the narrative of her being, the role of making-sense through her eyes becomes transferred to others. The material artifacts of her life exist unmoored from the person that created them and so their chain of meaning, the tethers that triangulate them have grown misty and require retracing, but, importantly, allow for new tethers to be drawn between the remnants of her life and the world as it is now, through other eyes.
Becker produced a kind of fantasy in her work, better a phantasm, something similar to haunting, a kind of reconfiguring of that which is (or was, now). Her process is much like what seems to be happening in her still from Whole (projector), a light source casting its presence as lack, made real through refraction, then captured again as light.
As people, we are often reduced to parentheticals, by ourselves and others. Contained and succinct, in death especially, we must become signifiers in order to transition into that quasi-immortal territory of collective memory. Some take it upon themselves to push at these bounds, incessantly, excoriating the definitions others placed on ourselves and even those held within, closely, perhaps in the chest. Pick - pick - pick at the surface to try to get through to something else, be it red and warm or hard and dry as concrete or glass.
The picking is important, it opens portals.