The Future of Loneliness

30 May 2024 – 25 Jun 2024

Regular hours

11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00

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Guts Gallery

England, United Kingdom

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Guts Gallery is pleased to present The Future of Loneliness, a group exhibition curated by Maria Dolfini.


Drawing from Olivia Laing’s homonymous essay, the show explores interpretations of loneliness and intimacy in present times, probing the impact of current technological and social structures on our ability to connect and find authenticity in human contact. The exhibition does not endeavour to portray solitude as a homogenous experience, but as a fluid, meandering and non-chronological journey, a collection of tales and emotions reflecting on the fabric of aloneness today.

What does it mean for artists to make art, consciously and unconsciously, in this period of time? Post-covid, where we re-emerge from our individual isolation, and awkwardly and wearily try to reconnect; post-internet, where the omnipresence of social media and the AI-generated revolution engender an increasingly individualised and dispersed self, reshaping our concepts of bodily touch and authenticity; and amidst a post-Brexit Europe and divisive world-scape, where countries are at war, communities are fractured and our sense of belonging unsettled. How do we experience intimacy and longing within these technological, social and political horizons? Can art be an antidote to loneliness and isolation?

As a lonely person might lose the sense of normative time, the exhibition branches out from the present, re-imagining itself through different temporal axes, encompassing the future and the past. When the present feels elusive, we apathetically distance ourselves in a desire to escape, looking at the future with uncertainty and the past with nostalgia.

The first room of The Future of Loneliness presents visions of the future, reflecting on our fantasies and anxieties and reconceiving intimacy within futuristic and technological narratives. The artists in this space, drawing from fascination and concerns for technological progress, environmental catastrophes and urban consumerism, inquire into the direction we are heading towards as individuals and society.

In the age of machine intelligence, what is this sense of the internet’s perpetual exposure, control and endless possibilities doing to our ability to feel desire and find intimacy? Are we self-determining bodies or entangled networks? Anna-Lena Krause, Sam King and Hampus Wermenyr portray bodily touch and entanglement in our pixelated age; their figures are at once embodied and disembodied, interconnected and estranged. Hanging with the aura of a gothic church window, Luisen ZK’s ‘Desire is a Portal’ (2024), converts the neural activity of the brain during orgasm into 3D animation, subsequently transferred into stained glass. By deconstructing the experience of pleasure into networked waves, the physical is translated into virtual, engendering a post-pornographic shrine of ever-dissolving bodies.

In Burling’s whimsical paintings, sharp dystopian objects infiltrate idyllic quotidian sceneries, addressing the climate and existential anxiety looming over our generation. The apocalyptic light, leaving us uncertain whether it is representing dawn or dusk, sets the viewer within a liminal atemporal space of transformation; in the artist’s words, “It could be either a shepherd’s warning or a delightful spectacle”. While Cameron’s cinematic paintings, executed with a loose wet brushstroke, depict the alienation of contemporary cities, oscillating between interior and exterior settings and the sensations of being walled off or overly exposed.

Next door in the works of Jungwon Jay Hur, Yage Guo and Lisa Liljeström, loneliness finds solace in hazy pasts, touching upon themes of memory, mythology, tenderness and nostalgia. Norberto Spina’s thick cross-hatching paintings explore the bareness of the arid land of Southern Italy, drawing on the weight of the country’s history. In Curchod’s oil-stick painting, two unmoored figures hug in a tender yet violent embrace, while the transience of the city unfolds and wraps their bodies. Alternating areas of textural softness and roughness, layered colour palette and non-finito, the figures awkwardly float into liminal and unrecognisable spaces, bordering the reign of abstraction.

The Future of Loneliness brings together contemporary international artists whose works, whether through their technique, medium or subject matter, touch upon questions of aloneness, intimacy and bodily touch, and whose practice opens up a space for re-conceiving ourselves in relation to the world around us. Eschewing a single framework of interpretation, the show constructs a heterogeneous architecture of loneliness, weaving together individual commentaries into a broader, entangled conversation. Whether experiencing solitude on a personal or structural level, it urges us to look with innovative, turbulent and restorative eyes, to understand what we truly value and to re-engender our place within the world. Loneliness is a special place.

Words by Maria Dolfini

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Maria Dolfini


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