Efremidis Gallery is proud to present SQUISH, a group exhibition featuring the work of Carlotta Bailly-Borg, Christiane Blattmann, Lindsay Lawson, Teresa Solar, and Jens Kothe.
‘Squish’ is an aromantic crush, a deep desire for friendship, mental and physical closeness without the touching, desire without sex. ‘Squish’ also refers to a sound; a squelching when walking on mud for instance, and the action of putting intense pressure on a soft surface. Uncanny but pleasurable, a hint of disgust you wish to participate in again. The works featured in SQUISH deal with sensual variations of ambiguity and the uncanny in either material choice or pictorial presentation.
On view are three paintings from Carlotta Bailly-Borg (*1984, France), which make up her CHITCHAT series featuring fluid humanoid creatures, their nebulous sensual bodies flowing together. A number of her ceramics are also shown; these ancient Greek/Roman amphorae inspired works were dropped on a hard surface when still unfired and the subsequent new forms have been given identities by Bailly-Borg by scratching faces into the whitewashed clay. The expressions are open to interpretation; are they an expression of the violence done to the original shape of the vase? We can see an open-mouthed scream, an annoyed glance. But does the mouth inhale or exhale, in pain or petite mort?
Birds, foxes, masks, holding, containing and seeping through; Christiane Blattmann’s (*1983, Germany) sculptural wall hangings morph between the natural and alien. Using utilitarian basket weaving techniques, Blattmann creates structures that appear familiar at first but then take on an eerie portent. Inspired by a variety of literary sources ranging from Aristophanes’ The Birds (414 BC) to Monique Wittig’s Les Guérillères (1969) Blattmann entwines separate strands of mythology, literature, science, and architecture which form uncanny objects seemingly existing on this plane and another, otherworldly one.
In ‘Everything is OK’ Teresa Solar (*1985, Spain) takes the hand gesture for the word OK as a starting point. Using her hands and the potter’s wheel she engraves this particular sign onto the rotating clay, creating pots that are themselves language. The so-called pots are deformed, stuck and pressed onto each other, creating a seemingly endless repetition of the gesture, a verbal mantra invoked by Solar for self-protection. The glossy pink finish appears slick, wet, glistening. Slip in and out, deeper and through. The shapes hint at the human body, intestines and skin folds. Interspersed between the contorted ceramics are shapes reminiscent of dissected limbs, clean and shiny, leaning on metal stands, they appear ready to be filled to enclose.
Lindsay Lawson’s (*1982, USA) ‘Still Lives’ prints feature enticingly lit banal objects grouped together in a slightly absurd manner. The lighting is reminiscent of a dark nightclub and shadows obscure our vision. Her fountain work ‘Interior Sphinx’ slinks towards us, a cigarette absurdly gurgling water. Lawson’s objects are often activated by water, obtaining a personality and specifically emoting disdain or an air of aloofness.
Pulled tight, stretched over a seemingly more supple material; folded, creased and at times hairy, Jens Kothe’s (*1985, Germany) ‘wall objects’ and sculptural work evokes the human body. The domestic sphere is often referenced directly, like in the title of his sculptural work, ‘O.T. bench III’. Other times the bulging shapes squeezed between concrete or wood remind us of a tufted sofa or pillows. The body as our domicile. While the materials used by Kothe beg to be experienced haptically, they are also disconcerting, seemingly naked without flesh.