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Me and noor

Museum Link:

Source Link:

Date Minted:June 18, 2020

Artist Description: Choose 2 different states

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

Ingenuity. A rare nectar, but so sweet. And while often the intertextual ingenuity between a piece and its, say, title or artist description, can be overdone or gauche, the tendency to craft a small universe of context around a piece using only the mechanisms available on a single webpage always impresses me. And so with that in mind, we come around to Me and noor by CIVIT, a piece enchanted by color, and one which leans into a very specific style with which to showcase that enchantment. Me and noor is very obviously interested in exploring a kind of childlike wonder, or the certain childlike emotions which are that wonder’s foundation, which we see communicated in the lines and the shapes, in the colors, and in the subject matter itself, the two figures and how they relate to each other. All of that is true, but this effect is deepened by the aforementioned intertextuality. Using a scant set of resources, CIVIT has instilled that same endearing innocence into every inner and outer aspect of their art, not only heightening the effect, but making it much more memorable, much more powerful, and much more successful.

Really Me and noor is made up of two separate but interrelated artworks. As I’m viewing the piece on Async (where it appears differently from how it appears in the museum itself), Me and noor showcases both of its “layers,” which can be flipped between with a simple mouse-click. Really, this is a diptych packaged under the guise of a single art piece. “Hug” and “Boredom” are the two layers’ names, and both showcase the same two characters, the aforementioned me and noor, presumably. One character, who seems to be male-presenting, is in both pieces clad in a turquoise torso, their arms brown and their hands bright blue; one leg yellow and one leg blue, and a royal blue face with a turquoise teardrop shape smudged upon it. This character is accompanied by a female-presenting figure, she of blonde hair and an orange face, of a pink blouse and a seafoam skirt, green legged, and both are barefoot (I’m reticent to assign the name “noor” to either character as the name itself is unisex). No other modes of expression or individuality have been assigned to either figures.

The subjects here are a-racial, somewhat a-gender, and inexpressive outside of how they are standing in relation to each other. In “Hug” the two figures are shown embracing.  The seemingly male character gazes straight forward, his arm wrapped around the seemingly female’s waist as she leans against his shoulder, seeming distracted or otherwise fully-engaged in the obviously loving act. Likewise, “Boredom” showcases the two in an equally intimate position, one that also focuses on physical contact, although here the female figure has her head resting on the male’s shoulder, the “boredom” seeming to be of the kind felt when waiting for a bus, when standing around and engaged in no other activity. There’s a tenderness in this act too. One feels the comfort the two have around each other. 

But it’s a comfort which reminds me not of lovers or even of friends, but of children. I look at the way these two figures are positioned, how they’re engaged with one another, and there’s a bit of impetuousness in it. In “Boredom,” there is a blatant immaturity, like you’d see from a child whose mother is taking forever at some store, hunched over, probably being annoying, filling time with nonsense, as children are wont to do. And in “Hug,” there’s such a freedom in their positioning, an overflowing of comfort and peace that exudes innocence. In each case, that spontaneous and placid sense of childhood pervades, and is only emphasized by the composition itself: a hardly-painted-within-the-lines mishmash of color, almost as if finger-painted, without the burden of logic or continuity that much so-called “serious art,” or perhaps otherwise called “adult art” is beholden to. We find the same sense of relaxation in the colors and the shapes and the squiggly lines surrounding the figures as we do in their depicted positioning.

So we come now to the intertextuality. Let’s take the title for instance, which, and believe me I hate to be the one to call this out, is grammatically incorrect. Generally, unless following a preposition, we would stylize these two characters as “noor and I.” I might well be reading too much into this, and assuming an artist’s grammatical familiarity with English is a self-centered fool’s endeavor, but it seems too perfect, too in-line with the otherwise composition of the piece, to be accidental. And then you have the Artist’s Description: “Choose 2 different states,” it reads, in the terse and direct way of a child, unconcerned with any outside considerations or the so-called “rules” of such a textual space.

I haven’t yet mentioned, at least not directly, that the piece is beautiful. And it’s wholesome in a really rare and fulfilling way. And CIVIT has provided us with two pieces under the guise of one. A lesser artist would make this a series and force us to seek out disparate pieces. CIVIT clearly sees them as linked, and does them (and us) the service of binding them together.


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