Soft Bodies

1 March 2020 — 1 November 2020

Soft Bodies will be our reopening exhibition. We are looking forward to welcoming the visitors to the show when we resume our regular opening hours in  September 2020.

Soft Bodies features the work of artists; Emma Cousin, Stine Deja, George Gibson, Aliyah Hussain and Anna Bunting-Branch (Potential Wor(l)ds), Robin Megannity, Sadé Mica, Jake Moore and Semi Precious, Sam Rushton, Megan Snowe, Xiuching Tsay.

The exhibition takes its title from Soft-body dynamics, a field of computer-generated graphics which creates simulations of soft materials such as muscle, fat, hair, vegetation and fabric. The increasing availability of this kind of software has given artists new tools to make work; manipulating ‘digital clay’ in limitless space. These 3D digital works are however primarily experienced via the flat surface of the screen, as still or moving images. This may prompt questions about the contribution these works make to how we experience, understand and imagine our bodies. Do these smooth interfaces ultimately leave us feeling distanced and disembodied – and is that necessarily a bad thing? 

This exhibition places works made with these digital technologies alongside photography, painting, drawing, and print in order to consider the shared limits and potential of these mediums. In particular their ability to call forth worlds beyond their two dimensional surfaces. With figurative and abstract, actual and virtual content, Soft Bodies explores how these works might inform our experience of being in a body, with its own insides and outsides, boundaries and internal worlds. In places the exhibition points towards experiences of the body that exist beyond everyday language, considering the speculative potential of these works to inform our understanding of the body in relation to politics, technology, the image, gender, race, sexuality and the future.

To find out more about Soft Bodies, you can download our exhibition handout here which includes images and links to video pieces in the show. Soft Bodies artist George Gibson’s book ‘Other Kin’, is also available to download here.

We have also commissioned a Soft Bodies episode of artist Emma Cousin’s podcast Chats in Lockdown’. For this episode, available here: AnchorSpotify, Emma Cousin has invited writer Rajesh Parameswaran (author of I Am an Executioner: Love Stories (2013) described by The Washington Post as “the advent of a genuinely distinctive voice in American fiction”), and fellow exhibiting artist Megan Snowe, to join her for a chat in lockdown. Their conversation takes the Soft Bodies exhibition as a starting point as well as the restrictions and changes to our daily activities caused by Covid-19, such as the increasing presence of video conferencing in our lives. The discussion takes places via the internet between London and New York and covers subjects including the disembodying and embodying nature of technology, the removal of things from the body, phantom limbs, body trash and the potential of inhabiting our non-flesh-based erogenous selves. 

Following their discussion Rajesh Parameswaran has written a short story which is available to download here. Copyright 2020 Rajesh Parameswaran. All rights reserved.

 

To read more see Sara Jaspan’s article for Creative Tourist and Castlefield Gallery curator Matthew Pendergast’s contribution to Shuttered: Short Reflections on Closed Exhibitions for Corridor 8. 

 

Curated and produced by Castlefield Gallery.

With special thanks to Commissioning Patrons Jo and Allan Melzack.

Castlefield Gallery Exhibition Supporters

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Image: Jake Moore and Semi Precious ‘Other Life’ (2019) film still.