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In Touch - 3D virtual exhibition by Danielle Arnaud

In Touch

Mon, 07/20/2020 to Tue, 09/01/2020

curated by:

Sola Olulode, Alix Marie, Jane Hayes Greenwood, Patricia & Marie-France Martin, Mandy Franca, Paulette Phillips and Charlotte Edey

Curated by Tess Charnley

'I took a last swig from my beer, overcome with the sensations of touch, of my fingers and palms smoothing along some untouched body in some imagined and silent sun-filled room.' - David Wojnarowicz, 'Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration'

The past few months have brought touch to the forefront of our minds. The first sense to develop in infants, touch is integral to the way we relate, both to our surroundings and to each other. Skin-to-skin soothes us, as children and as adults. There is a signalling in touch - the momentary merging of our selves with an other, reminding us of our place within the world, of the collectivity of our existence. The pandemic has forced us to move inwards, fearing touch. In a virus-laden world, the possibility of contamination lives any(every)where. Choosing to touch brings risk, an exchange of cells weighted with responsibility. Many go months untouched, with the simplest gesture longed for - a hand on y'ours, the brush of a shoulder. 'In Touch, the third exhibition in the gallery’s virtual space, presents work of multiple processes: painting; drawing; batik; photography; video; lithography - tactility explored in the works’ subjects and their conception.

Alix Marie’s photographs reveal the fleshiness of touch, her work 'Wax Photograph 14' (2014) an exemplification of the porousness of our skin, the edge-less nature of existence. Similarly, in Paulette Phillips’ video work 'Trace Elements' (2013), we see the merging of words: ‘When two things touch trace elements are exchanged’, a phrase that could not feel more pertinent at the moment. The text, cast in ice then captured on film, made as a eulogy for celluloid film.

Hands, our vehicles of touch, appear particularly in Mandy Franca’s photo lithographs and Charlotte Edey’s drawings and tapestry. In Franca’s photo lithographs 'Untitled' (2019) we see hands, repeated; skin creased in a moment of gesture. In Charlotte Edey’s drawings 'Mine I' and 'Mine II' (2019) we see hands reaching, faces offered to an unknown receiver. Edey’s tapestry 'Freshwater' (2018) depicts a hand pointing towards a pool of water, the shape of which mimics another hand. The work is a mirage of touch.

Patricia & Marie-France Martin’s video work 'Un et un à présent ça fait deux avant ça ne faisait qu’un' (2000) presents the frenzy of touch, skin on skin imitated in hosiery pulled over legs; the music bringing a swell of anxiety about what might become of these limbs, intertwined. In Jane Hayes Greenwood’s painting 'Virtual Reality' (2018) we see a coupling emerge; a woman painting a man before her in an envisioning of intimacy. Sola Olulode’s painting 'Entwined' (2020) shows bodies entangled in a moment of pleasure, their longing for touch satiated.

'In Touch' is an investigation of touch, positioned in a space that opposes tactility. The show considers touch as an anchor, our rootlessness in its lack.

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