COUNTERBLAST | GABRIELLE L’HIRONDELLE HILL
A rabbit woman, lying like a Renaissance Venus, looks with her wildflower eyes towards the ceiling, lost and worried. Her body, made with tobacco held together by nylon stockings, is completely naked to the observers, on her bust the big breasts narrow the gap between the human and the animal figure. The legs are bent, as if to rest and on the feet a pair of running sneakers.
Counterblast (2021) is the contemporary odelisk created by the artist and writer Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill using only recycled materials: choosing to work with objects recovered from the street or from abandoned places, such as beer cans or scraps of fabric, the artist highlights his interest in an economy of reciprocity, opposing contemporary capitalist logics. The title of the work also refers to the letter written by the King of England in 1604 in which the natives of North America were accused of bringing bad habits to Europe, such as the consumption of tobacco and its use as a bargaining chip. The aesthetics of L’Hirondelle Hill stands as a response to this widespread prejudice among colonizers by proposing, in the careful choice of material, an enhancement of indigenous uses and customs with a view to their actualization in the present. In fact, tobacco is an element considered beneficial in many indigenous cultures of America both physically and spiritually and consequently socially; moreover, its use as a bargaining chip proposed a different type of economic interaction, replacing the normal monetization of the market. The sculpture of the rabbit woman thus becomes the casket of a past symbolism and an example of a possible change against colonialist and capitalist thought and economy.
The gaze and placid pose of this rabbit woman manages to sign up as a warning but also as an encouragement: funny and disturbing, vital and tired, L’Hirondelle Hill’s sculpture embodies the artist’s deep bond with the indigenous culture to which she addresses as a chance to face a present in which the enhancement of exchange and relationships is gradually wasting away.
Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill
Pantyhose, tobacco, beer can tabs, wildflowers, thread, charms
24 x 200 x 66cm
All works with the additional support of MASSIMODECARLO
International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, The Milk of Dreams
© Photo by Roberto Marossi, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia