Anne Duk Hee Jordan
Loving the Alien
La Casa Encendida, Spain
Feb 2 – 28 Apr, 2024
Curated by Laura López Paniagua

Loving the Alien is an invitation to reconsider the limits of our bodies and identities, reflect on otherness, and imagine possible metamorphoses through the positions adopted by four artists: Sandra Mujinga, Anne Duk Hee Jordan, Mari Katayama and Ovartaci.

The word ‘alien’ has multiple meanings in English, ranging from extraterrestrial and outsider to unknown and marginal, but all of them allude to diverse aspects of the unfamiliar or different. Inspired by the polysemic nature of the word, this exhibition examines various forms of otherness to challenge the frames that define the boundary between the self and the other, between the familiar and the foreign. Are matters such as race, gender, ecology and identity constructs that divide us socially, separate us from nature and generate hate—even of ourselves— when we don’t conform to convention?

Using different strategies, the four artists create alternative cosmologies that integrate, praise and celebrate otherness. The positions they adopt chime with the philosopher Donna Haraway’s exhortation to tell new stories to explain the world and embrace strange, hybrid possibilities that help us to navigate the social, psychological and ecological crises in which we are immersed.

The title of the exhibition pays homage to the self-proclaimed extraterrestrial David Bowie, who played with the complexity of the word ‘alien’ to great effect, reflecting on themes such as liminality, exclusion and counterculture. His song ‘Loving the Alien’ (1985) has a sociological slant, alluding to persistent conflicts between members of different faiths and creeds.

This exhibition, like Bowie, doesn’t invite us to love the alien because, ultimately, it is just like us, but because it forces us to confront what is improbable, unusual or even abject about it; because it is precisely its otherness that opens the gateway to other possible realities.

Caption: Anne Duk Hee Jordan, Atmospheres of Breathing, 2020-21, installation view at “Prize of the Böttcherstraße”, Kunsthalle Bremen, 2020, photo: Marcus Meyer