Instead of having to rely on ‘dialogical sharing’, neurobiologists were initially quite hopeful to capture emotional vibes through ‘monological staring’ – the Enlightenment approach of mapping our world. As technology advanced, scientists expected to discover objective correlates for particular subjective experiences. These hopes were quickly dashed. imaging technology, such as brain scanners, relies on the fact that areas with active neurons consume more oxygen, a metabolic expenditure that translates into colourful maps of our mental machinery. However, specific feelings do not correspond with neuronal fireworks in specific brain sections; instead, mental maps are so complex that we cannot yet read them. our consciousness is not at home in some localised kernel either; instead, my self is entirely decentralised. CA captures similar vexing features in her Black Bed/White Bed, graphite drawings, in which, depending on how we change position, we see something quite different.
Dr Volker Sommer, A Short History of Hysteria, 2012
top to bottom
Black Bed, 1016 x 660mm, pencil on paper
Burnt Bed, 420 x 297 mm, pencil on paper
Burnt Bed, detail
Black Bed 2, 420 x 297 mm, pencil on paper
White Bed, 1016 x 660mm, acrylic and gouache on paper
Tunnel (sketch) pencil on paper
Tunnel, pencil on paper
Sanctuary I, soap on paper
Sanctuary II, soap on paper
Blue bathroom 1, ink on paper
Blue bathroom 2, ink on paper
Black Shower, 1016 x 660mm, graphite powder on paper
White shower, enamel on paper
White shower detail
Untitled, soap on paper
White bathroom, enamel and gouache on paper
White bathroom detail
White shower (detail) enamel on paper
Sanctuary I (detail) soap on paper
The works of CA explicitly reconstruct a domestic domain where women are seemingly suppressed and relegated to preside over linen, beds and dishes. in CA’s Breaking Point, we watch a sculptured house-wife washing dishes, her hands made from soap that slowly dissolve under running water. That she will break the plate she is cleaning is therefore predictable. is her controlling husband subconsciously enjoying his wife’s docility and foreseeable clumsiness? is she feeding his desire to please him? or is she staging a muted revolt? Will there be regular outbursts – the complementary side of routine domesticity? in CA’s piece at least, one pair of hands dissolves each day – and so, one plate is bound to break each day.
Dr Volker Sommer, A Short History of Hysteria, 2012
Breaking Point: life size sculpture, soap, hair, sink, water
Heart of Darkness
130 page graphic novel adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, published September 2010 by SelfMadeHero.
“I am a complete evangelist for this book, which I consider to be quite magnificent. Anyango has brought to life Conrad’s nightmare journey far more successfully than the movie-makers who came before her; I’m certain that in the future, I will think of Heart of Darkness, and see only her drawings.
Every page is both extraordinary, and extraordinarily beautiful, and I urge you to go out and buy it.” Rachel Cooke, the Observer
“…a murky monochrome vision; subliminal connections influenced by avant-garde cinema; surreal mismatches of scale that allude to colonialism’s distortions of moral perspective.” Michel Faber, The Guardian
“Conrad’s exploration of power, greed and madness plays out as disturbingly as ever.” Sam Jones, the Guardian
“brooding with mood and menace” Paul Gravett, Comics historian and Author of Graphic Novels: Everything You Need to Know
“it is the sensational artwork by Anyango that makes the book…in the crepuscular gloom of her heavy pencil drawings, a pall of grey and sepia with contrasts of black, she catches something potent about the sick heart of colonialism and also about the resilient and unforgiving landscape in which the drama of the impossibility of human redemption unfurls. It is not Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, not quite, nevertheless the visual content is so painstakingly executed, so beautiful, that the pages look as if they’ve strayed in from the world of painting.”
Not Waving but Drowning
Not Waving is a series of works investigating the conceptual and physical possibilities of soap as a working material to explore impermanence, mutation and time. Research into this area led to Anyango being commissioned by Artakt and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to create a series of works for Cartographies of Life and Death, an exhibition celebrating the bicentenary of epidemiologist John Snow and the significance of his work in the fields of disease mapping and public health in the 1850’s. In 1854 Snow traced the outbreak of cholera in London to a water pump in Soho, which proved that it was the water system itself infecting people. Anyango’s work for this exhibition referenced the cholera outbreak and raised larger questions about domestic psychology and contemporary sanitation.
Not Waving but Drowning is the title of British poet Stevie Smith’s most famous poem. The objects describe disappointment, but also a reconciliation with that disappointment.
sink, soap necklace
He: I am going to give you a pearl necklace!
She: Oh! Aren’t you lovely!
One way mirror, soap, steel, copper, bedsprings, glass
The We Table is an object that offers both companionship and objectification in a relationship. The table top is a one way mirror, on to which one party can urinate. The person lying beneath the table can choose to see only a reflection of themselves, while remaining visible for the other person to enjoy themselves. The table is fully fitted with a drainage system and the table top slopes gently for improved flow. Copper vessels are traditionally used for their purification abilities.
Sanctuary II (soap on paper)
Sanctuary (detail) soap on paper
Sanctuary I (soap on paper)
2x2 is a graphic novel currently in progress. These are some rough spreads.
Turn of the Screw
Illustrations for The Turn of the Screw by Henry James