Ad Minoliti: Geometries of the Forest
1. A solo presentation by Ad Minoliti, engages with the artist's ecological imagery into their own geometrical abstraction to describe a relational world
2. Minoliti's artworks playfully blend irregular shapes, rich colors, and precise geometric forms to question normative conceptions of identity
Peres Projects presents Geometries of the Forest, Ad Minoliti’s third solo exhibition with the gallery, and their first in Seoul.
If you follow one of the root-like threads that grow from the underside of a mushroom, you’ll be led to an underground Kingdom. The caps and stalks that sprawl across forest floors and clamber up the barks of trees harbor vast networks below ground that form as fungi mycelium and tree roots merge. These are the circulatory systems of our forests. They span many miles and allow trees, insects, and other life forms to communicate and share nutrients over great distances.
In Geometries of the Forest, Ad Minoliti absorbs this ecological imagery into their own geometrical abstraction to describe a relational world. At times irregularly shaped, their canvases are playful and color-rich, intersecting precise geometric forms in contrasting palettes to create larger formations that evade categorization. In this ambiguity lies Minoliti’s intention to question our normative conceptions of identity. Their work is informed by the writings of philosopher Donna Haraway who argues for a revising of the traditional notions of identity to account for the inherent interdependence of all living and non-living forms. Haraway highlights the importance of companion species in sustaining the earth’s ecosystems and, in A Cyborg Manifesto, evokes the concept of a post-human cyborg — a metaphorical entity that amalgamates organic and technological matter. Minoliti’s paintings visually express these notions. The works are organized like ecological systems with each shape on the canvas playing a part in multiple structures. In Magic dust (2023), a caterpillar sits atop a mushroom cap, a yellow reptilian tongue or hookah pipe protruding from an oval mouth. The blue mushroom doubles as the caterpillar’s body while across the canvas sits a mirror image of their head in yellow and white. A reformulation of a scene from Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Minoliti critically engages with the symbolism in children’s literature, toys, and cartoons to open up a dialogue on the issue of adultism and how it ties into our understanding of gender.
Children’s literature is rich with ecological imagery — young girls wander lost through forests; magical creatures build their homes in mushrooms and trees. Minoliti seamlessly translates these images into a geometry that blurs the boundaries between species and deconstructs their narratives. In this way, Minoliti uncovers and remedies the systemic biases that place excessive limitations on younger people and condition children into normative perspectives on gender and identity. In Mariposa (2023), Minoliti paints a butterfly. On one of its undular wings, we find the wide anime-like eyes of a Bradley Doll. The lashes are pronounced and weighted. The eyes glint as light bounces off the surface suggesting a glazing over, an obliviousness. Typically dressed in layered gowns and floral hats, Bradley Dolls were made en masse in Korea and Japan throughout the 60s and 70s. The gendered imagery floats amidst a sea of geometric abstraction that touches something beyond gender. With Minoliti’s precise forms backdropping them, the eyes become an absurd emblem for a persistent and potentially damaging portrayal of femininity and girlhood.
The rounded sporous forms of “microdose” are painted in a contrasting pastel palette of pink and blue that renders a gender non-conforming visual field. The work references the medicinal and psychotropic power of mushrooms and points to a type of knowledge that has been all but lost with the destruction of the indigenous communities who honor the traditions of plant-based medicine. References such as this remind the viewer of the intersectionality of adultism which is a schema that not only disempowers children but also the parts of our societies and ourselves that express aspects associated with youth, oppressing and patronizing communities that operate around an intuitive, less definitions-based system of knowledge.
Geometries of the Forest is the first iteration of a new concept that Minoliti will be advancing with a major institution in Germany this fall that will see them transform an underground exhibition space into a fungal cavern. Like the fungi networks of a forest, the exhibition brings together typically contrasting elements in collaborative systems that dissolve normative conceptions of identity, fostering an inclusive space that recognizes the interconnectedness of all beings.