LokieJokie, faceless internet art sensation, is in relentless pursuit of what they call ‘genuine ambiguity’. Not that fake stuff you get off dodgy websites, but the pure, uncut, good oil: top grade ambiguity. The artist’s paintings are – as you can guess – pretty ungraspable things, filled with symbols and concepts that mean multiple things, that signify contrasting ideas. They are, in other words, ambiguous.
The show opens with a painting of the inside of a lift. The perspective draws you in towards its gleaming silver surfaces, ready to usher you to the floor of your choosing. It’s the perfect start; a lift is the ultimate ‘liminal’ space, a constant in-between, a space that’s never permanently one thing or another, it’s always changing. A song on repeat is played softly from what appears to be tiny speakers behind the artwork itself. The song is unrecognisable, catchy, and repetitive; almost, enchanting, and the more you listen, the more your anxiety rises. The song itself is also a creation of LokieJokie, designed to inflict panic, hand in hand, with the majority of the pieces on show.
Portraits of women show up a lot in this show, and demons too. Both hard and fragile, caught between conception and hatching, the demon is typically presented here as a shell-character, disguised and vague in appearance, in the background of many pieces. Again, an ambiguous object.
One room here is made up of paintings seen from the inside of a mouth, the teeth and lips acting as a framing device for visions of a woman sat on a floor (a self-portrait), a cat, a room of paintings and another chicken. It’s an incessant clash of the super weird with the super mundane.Other works here depict a naked man in a field of bulls, or a car seen from the inside of another car. And you start to realise that everything is linked. The symbols here all repeat, you can draw lines between the works. All this chaos is connected.
I don’t think these are necessarily brilliant paintings, but the show as a whole is so quietly unsettling that it leaves you feeling unnerved, like you’re entered an impossible tangled web that you can’t escape. LokieJokie’s art lacks any solid messages, there’s no black and white here. And in a world where you’re constantly surrounded by opinions, hot takes and hard facts, a little wobbly ambiguity is actually a really nice thing.
Photo: ‘Girl on Fire’ by LokieJokie, @lokiejokie. Instagram.com/lokiejokie