Sophie Hoyle: Sheer—Naked—Aggression

16 Mar 2017 – 25 Mar 2017

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Chalton Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition Sheer—Naked—Aggression by British Artist Sophie Hoyle.


"from the glint of leather in the corner, to way back in my head: the firm boot in the sand by the border checkpoint"

In 'Sheer—Naked—Aggression' Hoyle explores how cultural symbols of violence intersect with structural violence, and how the interpersonal relates to the geopolitical. As a queer person with family from and living in Lebanon and Egypt, they negotiate the symbols and spaces of queer BDSM as a space to potentially re-work and reclaim symbols of power, specifically in relation to the realities of ongoing military intervention, torture, conflict, genocide and occupation in the Middle East and North Africa. 

They associate the similarities in materials and techniques between BDSM and torture—cable ties, ropes, sensory deprivation or sensation play—but in radically different contexts: from being used as the tools of oppression to potential tools of emancipation for marginalised people. What is the potential for (consenting) enactments of violence, for empowerment and subversion in the queer erotic imaginary? How may queer people renegotiate common roles and positions within BDSM, such as those relating to authority, and what is the allure of symbols of authority and discipline even though we may not ourselves support authoritarianism, police, state or military violence? Through experiences of violence and marginalization as minority communities, how this is dealt with in interpersonal relations can be experienced as a positive catharsis; when systematic structural inequalities feel outside of an individual’s immediate control, role-play and BDSM can be another way of regaining control. Through connecting how different inequalities and oppressions intersect and compound one another, comes the potential to form strategies for resistance, survival and obstruction.

Until the 25th of March

Sophie Hoyle (b.1986, UK) is an artist and writer living and working in London. They graduated with an MFA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths University.

They work in moving-image, installation and text to look at the relation of the personal to (and as) political, and how alliances can be formed where different kinds of inequality and marginalisation intersect. They explore post-colonial, queer, feminist, anti-psychiatry and disability issues, drawing on biographical experiences of being queer, female-bodied and part of the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) diaspora, and relate individual experiences of Anxiety Disorder to narratives and structures of collective anxiety. 

They have had their work shown as part of the Northern Winter Workshops at BAK, Utrecht (2017), Power: The Politics of Disability, London (2017), The 3D Additivist Cookbook, clearview presents:, London, Mimesis for Cosmos Carl , Off to Mahagonny, London, This Time With FEELing [space] London, and Anxious to Secure at Transmediale HKW Berlin (all 2016).

Their article ‘Between Ethics and Erotica: Deconstructing Symbols of Aggressive Masculinity in Queer BDSM and Music Subcultures' in the upcoming issue of Cesura//Acceso: Corrupting Desires! explores some of the questions in this exhibition in more depth.


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