¬ Dafna Maimon
"When I look at my friend's toes, –which I have been portrait-painting and sculpting into vessels one can drink from–, I meditate on the porous intimacy of friendship, how friends infect, affect, shape and prod one another. With their toes in my mind's eye, I realize I would rather yield to the muddy ground through my feet than stay lost in the incessantly rambling "rationale" of my mind. Luckily, friends can bring us back to earth and ground us in the moment, allowing for at least short episodes of non-quantifiable magical coexistence, where love, joy, anger, sadness and other ever fleeting feelings can be heard, ingested and processed in all their stinging powers." ¬ DM
Toes are intriguing; they are equal in seductiveness, abjectness, and silliness, but they also connect us to the ground and distribute our weight. Toes rub against shoes, they sweat inside of cheap socks, and sometimes they grow bunions from being squeezed into pointy high heels. They wear down from dancing, walking, and standing. Lifestyles and life stories are embodied and embedded within feet. Furthermore, toes are highly communicative tentacular limbs that have been subject to much-constructed symbolism and control throughout history, especially when thinking about women's feet – and how they have been treated – toes can tell larger cultural and personal stories.
George Bataille's essay "The Big Toe" from 1929 meditates on this body part as one that is most human, due to it setting us apart from our closest primate relatives (Chimps, Bonobos, Orangutans, etc.) whose equivalent "big toes" resemble thumbs and support their tree-dwelling lives. Bataille recounts a typical binary in his essay: Our feet rummaging in the dirt and mud of the earth represent the low, base, subterranean, hell-like dimensions, while our heads reach toward the light, celestial skies, and heavens, and form the desired direction of evolution toward "man's" reason as the highest order.
Damp Footnotes resets this direction, and like footnotes within a text, rather swirls out in a rhizomatic, non-linear meditation on toes and friends, where knowledge processed and created through friendship is weaved into an intimate foot-oriented experience.
– A project by Dafna Maimon with Victoria Camblin, Jessica Gadani, Leah Katz and Rosalind Masson
Dafna Maimon (FI/IL b.1982 Porvoo) is an artist based in Berlin, Germany. Her practice encompasses performance, video, drawing and immersive installation. Her work surveys the ways in which we handle recollections, stereotypes, and traumatic experiences into narrative patterns while sketching out strategies of subversion and self-empowerment. In particular, her work deconstructs patriarchal structures and plays with them through exaggeration and re-contextualization. The study of diverse forms of community and belongingness is another characteristic of her practice; as is the realization of time-consuming and collaborative embodied processes. Her humorous and often absurd work taps deep into the human narrative and its vessel; the human body, while looking for new perspectives and tools that allow for self-reflection, stillness and catharsis.
Maimon has shown her work in institutions and art spaces such as Helsinki Biennial (Helsinki), KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin), MoMA PS1 (New York), Kiasma Museum, (Helsinki), Mahj Jewish Museum (Paris), Kim Center Contemporary Art, (Riga), 1646 (Den Haag), SPACE Gallery, (Portland Maine), Gallery Wedding (Berlin). Maimon holds a BFA from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and an MFA from the Sandberg Institute Amsterdam.