PISIN, a collective that first came together at Manchester School of Art in 2012, consists of four painters living across England and Germany. They create collaborative, visceral works initiated by one painter with a debut layer and then posted to the next. The works travel full circle until they are deemed finished, a method of working likened by PISIN to the structure of the game ‘Buckaroo’. Throughout their journey, previous layers of the paintings often become obsolete, hidden by subsequent marks. Pieces are cut and collaged, blocked out and scraped over. Each postal delivery unearths a new work that may once have been blue, then orange, and now bright pink, as seen in ‘The Pink One’ (2017).
Works from the Carl Mooncalf Collection at serf studios saw PISIN’s most recent collection of work, an array of colour, texture and shape intrinsically linked by the group’s shared skills and a playful, signature aesthetic. A beam, emblazoned with a bright yellow vinyl of the exhibition title, cleverly introduces the space. Generously spaced on the walls of the serf project space, the journey of each painting is allowed to assert itself.
Snippets of conversation, literal descriptions and momentary reactions to the paintings become titles. Each painting exhibit traces of its story, such as in ‘Go out, come back’ (2017), where leftover staples and masking tape suggest hidden or absent elements. ‘How was I supposed to know’ (2017) and ‘Top and bottom’ (2017) show PISIN’s collaboration at its most harmonious. Each painter’s contribution, an instinctive reaction to the previous mark, texture and colour scheme, results in two particularly strong works where skill and playfulness come together.
A dynamic introduction to the clever wit and aesthetic of PISIN, Works from the Carl Mooncalf Collection was a refreshing revival of painting. The members of PISIN wish to remain anonymous, but their elusive exhibition title leaves us a clue: one meaning of ‘mooncalf’ is ‘a foolish person’, suggests a tendency toward humour and playfulness that is equally reflected in their collaborative process.
PISIN: Works from the Carl Mooncalf Collection, serf studios, Leeds, 3-8 February 2017.
Lisa-Marie Dickinson is an artist and writer based in Leeds.
Image: ‘The Pink One’ (2017), courtesy of Bijan Amini-Alavijeh.