Sat 3 Dec, 4pm – Artist’s talk with Renate Bertlmann
Sat 10 Dec, 3pm – Artist’s tour with Athena Papadopoulos
Streams of Warm Impermanence is a group exhibition at DRAF focusing on new iterations of flesh in a networked era. With Kelly Akashi, Jean-Marie Appriou, Dora Budor, Justin Fitzpatrick, Ann Hirsch, Max Hooper Schneider, Donna Huanca, Renaud Jerez, Jason Matthew Lee, Athena Papadopoulos, Anna Uddenberg, Stewart Uoo, Issy Wood; and works by Renate Bertlmann, Carolee Schneemann, David Wojnarowicz, Martin Wong.
The body has always generated discussion in literature, politics, performance studies, fashion, biology, and more recently in cultural theory, bioethics and information technologies. The body has been scrutinised, reconsidered, modified and reconquered as both a subject and an object, a constructed material and a matter to form. Yet, the body is still not exhausted: it escapes, it decays, and ways to control it (fitness, plastic surgery, cosmetics, diets etc) only emphasise its plasticity, its malleability, its inescapable putrefaction.
Streams of Warm Impermanence looks beyond well-rehearsed anxieties about human corporeity rendered either excluded and redundant, or abstracted and vacuous. The glossy, photoshopped, hyper-hygienic image only represents the surface of our online-body, a mirage of identity. The exhibition re-focuses attention from the body to its more basic matter: flesh, in it material, cultural, sexual, medical or cosmetic aspects.
Flesh is the matter of empowered bodies, ‘informed bodies’ operating through networks and fields of information (social, cultural, medical, etc) to perform, transform, transcribe, reconfigure or reinvent themselves. This exhibition wishes to consider flesh not as a category to read, decode or classify, but as a material that acts as much as is acted upon, infiltrates and is informed by the systems around it.
The artists are surgeons or Frankensteins, creating, opening, re-inventing and hacking bodies, at once violating and celebrating the flesh. The exhibition is constituted of fragmented, precarious, abject and complex organs and systems. Eventually, the works re-inform the art of portraiture blurring the boundaries between human/animal/object/technological. They articulate a vision of flesh as both material and a locus of fluid identity. Neither static and solid nor fully fluid, be they infected, pollinated or mutated, flesh has the potential to be “trans-” in its literal meaning: across, through, beyond.
The exhibition includes sculptures, paintings, drawings and installations never previously presented in London and new commissions. Practices by international contemporary artists are accompanied by historical works that point to key moments of shift in artists’ engagement with the flesh and the body: liberated with Carolee Schneemann, feminist with Renate Bertlmann, contaminated with David Wojnarowicz and the multi-cultural with Martin Wong.
This exhibition is curated and produced by Vincent Honoré (Chief Curator, DRAF) with Nicoletta Lambertucci (Curator, DRAF), and Cedric Fauq, Callum Kirkbride and Serge Legagneux (Curatorial Assistants).
Thanks to the Institut Francais for supporting the participation of Renaud Jerez.