In his own video works Richards combines diverse sources of existing audio and video to tease out new associations and connections. The idea of exhibition making is explored here as a kind of collage or composition that brings together works in an intuitive and associative way to create a highly charged environment.
A Slight Ache focuses on work that use materials drawn from daily life but that possess a visceral emotional intensity and suggestions of ritual or performance. They speak of the body, emerging and dissolving from the detritus of daily life, to describe a sense of collage as a way of thinking through the world. Here, the human form is something fragmented, in constant flux and interaction with its environment.
Drawing features prominently in the show. Scratchy and delicate, these works on paper by KHISHVI, Dani ReStack and Torsten Slama bring a sense of emotional immediacy and desire. In the works of Cathy Wilkes and JX Williams the sculptural assemblages of found domestic materials are conjured into something dramatic, erotic and deathly. Familiar objects suggest a narrative - of the figures that they evoke and through the marks that they carry.
Throughout the show photography and video bring elements of performance, transformation and language. Wojciech Bąkowski narrates over stop-frame animations and seductive audio loops, whilst in Christian Friedrich’s work a performance unfolds wherein the artist has invited to his studio an unsuspecting stranger he contacted via a personal ad and immerses him in a strobe-lit scenography. In Tolia Astakhishvili’s video work she crudely adapts and alters her appearances whilst addressing the viewer, and in Isa Gensken’s work the artist presents a single image of her own head in X-Ray.
The works in A Slight Ache are by a diverse group of artists, coming from a range of generations and geographies and installed in a way that sculpts a narrative. Works remain discreet and intact but, across the overall arc of the show, a picture is formed in the mind of the viewer - making a case for art making as something private, impulsive and devotional.