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During embryogenesis, the group of cells at some point arrange themselves into a fold. This folding is a part of the mechanism that pre-forms certain organisms for bilateral symmetry (which the vast majority of animals have), rather than, say, radial or spherical symmetry.  How do cells “know” they should fold, or where to start folding? In The Fold, Gilles Deleuze defines the Baroque as an “operative function” that “endlessly produces folds”:


“The problem is not how to finish a fold, but how to continue it, to have it go through the ceiling,

how to bring it to infinity. It is not only because the fold affects all materials that it thus becomes

expressive matter, with different scales, speeds, and different vectors (mountains and waters,

papers, fabrics, living tissues, the brain), but especially

because it determines and materializes Form.” *


In Dream Within a Dream, Marlie Mul presents two new bodies of work; a series of sculptures with the shared enumerated title Unnamed Charm; and a series of photo etchings, Unnamed (Scalp).


In the Unnamed Charm series, folded and curled colored silicone sheets—in black, silver, yellow and reds—are held together with steel hardware, creating small bijou-like, tense objects that might fit in one’s hand. Installed throughout the room, each one has its own persona. Some are sprouting synthetic hair, adding a soft-edged aura to the hard edges of the boldly colored silicone. Others have small plastic bones protruding from their crevices, or red-tipped pins stuck into the material. The lines of the parallel folds form vague question marks.


The Unnamed (Scalp) prints are made using the photo-etching technique photogravure, which was first developed in the 19th century. Shadowy images of egg-like shapes with pins and hairs can be made out through a kind of haziness of texture that emerges from both the images and the printmaking technique. These photos were taken while Mul was producing works for the 2021 exhibition, Sperms Going to a Fashion Show.  The objects appear as though stalled in a process of anthropomorphization, their hairstyles and identities not quite finished.


Mul’s relationship to material is grounded in artifice—there is no purity here. The skins of the sculptures are silicone, the little bones made of plastic, and the hairs synthetic—iconic materials of the body cartoonishly reproduced as obvious fakes. There’s a coexistence of the serious and the silly across the exhibition—a material investigation into the baroque that produces mysterious “charms” with personal style.



– Text by Marina Caron



* Deleuze, Gilles. The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque. First Edition. Minneapolis: Univ Of Minnesota Press, 1992. 3, 34.

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