"The only pure, virginal sense that remains is touch. It's also the only one that hasn't been catered for by the arts. It hasn't been aestheticised. I see it as an unexplored plain; I believe there is a buried treasure there." - Jan Svankmajer, Czech Surrealist Artist and Film-maker
Just under the Surface is a unique exhibition for a unique gallery space. The first exhibition by the pioneering artists' collective Art in Touch, it explores the aesthetic, emotional, bodily and metaphysical possibilities of an art that is keenly aware of the senses, especially touch. Working directly with the remarkable atmosphere and dimensions of the Crypt, and through sculpture, moving image, sound and installation, Just Under the Surface will create deeply immersive environments where multi-sensory encounters are actively encouraged.
"The concept of the exhibition lies in an idea of integration and unification," says artist film-maker Tereza Stehlà ková, co-founder of Art in Touch, "whether in terms of our various artistic disciplines, the exhibits themselves and finally the space as a whole, which acts as a literal and metaphorical container of the diverse impressions and experiences brought to it. The crypt, therefore, becomes one of our crucial collaborators. Rather than imposing external ideas onto the environment, we want to draw out the hidden stories from a space that is already rich with them."
The tactile is a critical, but often overlooked, element in contemporary fine art practice, relevant here both thematically and practically, as the means by which time, emotions and events imprints their histories and memories into objects and sites and as the process whereby these stored impressions might subsequently be retrieved.
In Just Under the Surface, all artists will present both discretely and in paired collaborations. Multi-textured installational sites - featuring rawhide, ceramics, film-projection, reedbeds, sand, water and flowers - along with the subtlest interventions onto the walls and into the alcoves of the underground space, will showcase a rich, committed - and beautiful - new direction for contemporary art.