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  • Writer's pictureEva van der Zand

"Let your lumpy character come out!"

He, I shout to the person next to me that seems to be always frozen. "Let your lumpy character come out!"

The lumps I have seen in my life attract me and at the same time push me away.

Lumps, gouche in Hebrew (brokken in Dutch)

She says there are many "gouces" in the world. As a dancer she points out to a pile of shit. This is for example a gouche as well.

With a lump of paper on my head I walk in the streets of Jerusalem. Planning to use it as a material. I bump into a friend. I tell her about my "lump" research. She says yes you have a big lump/gouche for sure on your head. She points elegant to another "gouche" on the street. "This is also a gouche". Some drops of dog shit are laying next to each other. Gouche is one of the first Hebrew words I learn.

Lumps of language are coming together. When learning a new language lumps of words are entering my ear. Sounds circulating, trying to become clear. But they stay lumpy. Strangers offer strangers all sorts of things. In the language troubles I decide to let go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth. Out of the lumps of words I only can see the friendly hand coming offering me a warm tea.

Lumps of bee hives.

A friend tells me that Israel uses the most honey in the world per person.

I checked later and Israelis consume 250 grams of honey per person in the Hebrew month of Tishrei, during the High Holiday festivals. According to the Israeli Honey Production and marketing board, Israelis consume 600 grams of honey per person during the whole year.

We hide behind sweetness. Buzzing facts.

Hiding vulnerabilities, and closing gaps with honey.

I wonder how a glass wall will look like, plastered with honey.

In many places I have visited I bumped into lumps. I sense that every country has their own amount of "lumpyness". We all make lumps in our lives. Lumps can't be avoided. Lumps to me also represents an unconscious act.

Lumps of garbage bags. Where small lumps where sticking out of the bigger lump. A lump of clay for example is in it's base a lump. And the Netherlands is such a clay country, such a lumpy country. We may build our houses of bricks made out of clay, and transform the lumpiness. But a lot of things that we now know as solid have been lumpy. I feel that every country has a ratio of "lumpyness". Some countries seem to avoid the lumpyness at all times. Something that is not under control. A place where gravity gets free play. A crime scene where gravity committed a crime.

I have an ambiguous relationship with lumps. When the glass is poured out on the last day of using the glass fornuis. A lumpy structure ends up in the metal basket. This texture fascinates me and pulls me closer, but also pulls me away. The surrendering feeling that is gives. Something that naturally felt down. It's a crime scene where gravity still had a moment of free play, in a world where gravity seems to be fighted all the time. I want to let the world fall in love again with "falling down gracefully". Falling down naturally.

Also my thoughts can feel like lumps. In a way I feel there should be a balance in the amount of lumpiness in the world. Piling up, as an endless pile of uncontrollable lumps.

Piling up. Cluttering together. overlapping, overlapping, overlapping. overthrown by lumps of information. impossible to become unlumpy. Saying hello to the clumsy lump in myself. My lumpy character.

Something liquid and moving. And at a certain moment the movements stops. Like pouring hot glass at the end of the year out of the fornuis into a metal bucket. A lump of glass comes alive.

A trash mountain can also be a great example of lumpiness. I feel a lot of lumpiness comes with responsibilities. Like the trash that should be taken care of. The lump of shit coming out of our bodies. The lumps of the endless street cats and dogs here in Jerusalem. Lumpiness warns me often. Lumps of plastic wandering around the roads. hanging as lumps in trees. As a sad decoration.

I've seen a lot of lumpy installations around me. In the streets of every city, but also in many museums.

Ken Price (1935-2012), Izzy, 2005. 13⅜ x 13 x 13 in (34 x 33 x 33 cm).

Guerra de la Paz, Oasis (2016). Site-specific installation at Chicago Cultural Center.

El Anatsui, City Plot (2010). Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery.

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