How to Disappear
moki likes to be invisible. Invisible and secretive. A hunch I got not only from her recent publication How to Disappear (published by Gingko Press), but also from the numerous interviews I’ve read about her, without ever reading her name.
Born between two nature preserves in the rural area of Brilon, Germany moki grew up taming cats, building tree houses and playing in the woods. Experiences that she knows to translate well into paintings, comics, photographs and short films. Her hauntingly transcendental paintings depict otherworldly places with frozen lakes, mysterious creatures and eerie shadows. Cold winds and deep waters create a landscape with an evocative and calming quality. In most of her work moki mixes a painterly, photorealistic approach with elements from the comic art genre.
A mix that reminds me of George Bataille’s inform, in the sense that her creatures seem to destroy the universe of classifications by rendering every description of them impossible, and thus ‘declassing’ language. The anatomically shaped mountains, nebulous forms and faceless creatures escape definitions by imitating what we know, while being formless at the same time. In doings so moki creates such a solitude in her landscapes that disappearing seems a natural act.
“Growing up in the countryside, taming cats, building tree houses and playing in the woods makes me aware of how small I am, and how amazing it is to be alive. In my pictures, there are many unconscious influences that I don’t try to control. I work from intuition, because for me that seems to be more interesting than illustrating an idea. There is no message expressible in words, and no need to interpret… although I’ve discovered many things about what I do. When people tell me what’s going on in my paintings, I’m excited about their feelings and ideas!” (moki, interview with Erratic Phenomena)
moki is synesthetic. A fact that fascinates me immensely and probably one of the reasons for her constant search for forms and ideas since she was fifteen. But contrary to what we ’5th sensers’ might believe it has a bigger influence on her understanding of the world, than on her work. As she explains: “Like many, I have strong emotions when I get into music – with these colors and shapes moving inside my head, it’s overwhelming. I suffer from the impossibility of sharing this with other people. I once made an animation film trying to translate this perception, but I failed. The experience of sensing something that other beings cannot see or feel makes me so interested in the ideas of constructivist epistemology. At the same time, it shows me how difficult and important it is to communicate – to share the world inside our heads, our dreams.” (moki, interview with Erratic Phenomena)
Currently moki lives and works in Hamburg, where she studied at the Academy of Arts. She is part of the BeetoBee Collective, a group connecting artists inspired by European and Asian culture (who equally refuse any definition). Together with friends she runs Hinterconti, an independent art space in Hamburg. In 2006, she began drawing comics for the annual comic anthology orang, published her first book, asleep in a foreign place and won several awards for her comic Borderland published by Kiki).
But moki doesn’t like to be the center of attention and might just disappear during an award ceremony, or the opening of an exhibition. Next week, December 11th, she’ll launch her book together with a solo show called Patchwork at the Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles. I hope this time, she wont feel like hiding, because she really deserves all the compliments that seem so hard to bear.