17 May–30 June, 2019
4 Herald Street

Woman always remains several, but she is kept from dispersion because the other is already within her and is autoerotically familiar to her. Which is not to say that she appropriates the other for herself, that she reduces it to her own property. Ownership and property are doubtless quite foreign to the feminine. At least sexually. But not nearness. Nearness so pronounced that it makes all discrimination of identity, and thus all forms of property, impossible. Woman derives pleasure from what is so near that she cannot have it, nor have herself. She herself enters into a ceaseless exchange of herself with the other without any possibility of identifying either. This puts into question all prevailing economies: their calculations are irremediably stymied by woman’s pleasure, as it increases indefinitely from its passage in and through the other.1

Touch these things, some thing. Sooner or later, held in a hold, looking to be looked at. Half-cold semiliquid softness softer when gelled. Things that cannot be understood are the most mesmerizing, things felt. No one knows the love that is felt by another.

I had sexlogic implanted and used it.2 Dirty pillows split, humped. Speculative hole slide gashed, tunneled. Forms move in on one another, can hold another form, be other form. Form feeling is infinite, with no end beginning, only a voice if heard, perceived, believed or seen.

My mouth blooms like a cut.3 I realize you’re Earthly, a touched/held kind of care. Synthesis symbiotic.

My nerves are turned on. I hear them like
musical instruments. Where there was silence
the drums, the strings are incurably playing. You did this.4

Walk-through entering it. Anyone can be entered. Touch material of matter, relay an innermost feeling.

Seeing is superseded by calculating probabilities. Vision loses importance and is replaced by filtering, decrypting, and pattern recognition.5 Some thing happened with some things. There are no lies in here – the tongue, tied; breast, plied; slide, tried; sphere, mired. Using things, we are used by these things.

The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That question the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer’s art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.6

Believe because that is magic, what magic is. Even if you deny the probability or possibility.

to a choir of ten thousand cuts
widening their cavities

to blunt, tyrannizing wind
grinding her edges

to floundering normativity
unsure if she will bless7

—A.L. Steiner, May 2019

  1. Irigary, Luce; This Sex Which Is Not One (1977), p. 31. 

  2. Gammel, Irene; Baroness Elsa: Gender, Dada and Everyday Modernity (2002), p. 53. 

  3. Sexton, Anne; “The Kiss”, Love Poems (1967), p. 3. 

  4. ibid, p. 3. 

  5. Steyerl, Hito; “A Sea of Data: Apophenia and Pattern (Mis-)Recognition”, Duty-Free Art: Art in the Age of Planetary Civil War (2017), p. 47. 

  6. Eliot, T.S.; “East Coker”, Four Quartets (1943), p. 15. 

  7. Simpson, Leanne Betasamosake; “song for dealers”, This Accident of Being Lost: Songs and Stories (2017), p. 19. 

Nevine Mahmoud (b. 1988, London) received her BA from Goldsmiths, University of London and MFA from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Her work was recently on view in The Artist is Present, curated by Maurizio Cattelan, at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai. Recent group exhibitions include Dreamers Awake: Women Artists After Surrealism at White Cube, London; The Poet, the Critic and the Missing at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; MADEMOISELLE at the Centre Régional D’art Contemporain Occitanie in Sète; This is Presence at Ballroom Marfa; and The Lasting Concept at the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art. Other thematic exhibitions include I Had the Landscape in My Arms at Josh Lilley, London; An Uncanny Order at Jessica Silverman, San Francisco; Debris at James Fuentes, New York; and Seven Reeds at Overduin & Co., Los Angeles. f o r e p l a y (2017) at M+B was the artist’s debut solo exhibition and was selected as an Artforum Critics’ Pick. Other notable press includes MOUSSE, Art Review, New York Magazine, Los Angeles Times, and Contemporary Art Daily. Nevine Mahmoud lives and works in Los Angeles. b e l l y r o o m (2019) at Soft Opening is Mahmoud’s first European solo exhibition.