The body, sensuality and sexuality may at first seem defined by tangibility, by physical contact with oneself and others. Yet when they are represented through other forms such as language, space and sound, these concepts reach further than the physical realm and towards varying directions. At times they reach inward, towards introspective or self-absorbed eroticism, while at other times they may be reproduced, over-layered and oversaturated so as to be moulded into a sense of pleasure designed by mass culture.
Even the notion of “touch” can be approached or deconstructed without physical contact at all, but rather through references that may be just as intense. Roland Barthes in his "The Pleasure of the Text" views the capacity of writing to exceed the page and reach out towards the reader in a way that suggests that writing itself may desire its reader. He distinguishes between a ‘readerly’ text which is interwoven into mass consumption culture and induces a placating ‘bliss’ in the reader, as opposed to a ‘writerly’ text in which such a pleasure is generated that it interrupts our consciousness. In this way, when written in a powerful manner, the word “touch” may seem to literally leap from the page to tenderly caress she who reads it. Yet the nuances of its touch depend on the delicate interplay between its framing and interpretation.
During Sophie Morrow’s (AU) solo exhibition "Touch me Tenderly", her installation “An Intimate Drama” frames the space for a performance by invited artist-duo Ainsley Tharp and Nathanial Moore (USA). Both pieces deconstruct the body, sexuality, sensuality and their links to broader society in a dynamic similar to Barthes’ readerly/writerly phenomenon. Morrow presents a mixed media installation that emphasizes the eroticism of language through anticipation and suspense. While in the performance Americum, Tharp and Moore toy with over-glossy consumerist culture, Oedipal complexes and eco-sexuality, questioning the production of pleasure and the untouchable space in-between.
ABOUT SOPHIE MORROW
Sophie Morrow (AU) is an artist from Melbourne, Australia and current SomoS Artist-In-Residence, whose multidisciplinary approach focuses on sexual identities, performativity and the language of desire.
Drawing from influences such as Julia Kristeva’s "Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art", Roland Barthes’ "The Pleasure of the Text", and the literary works of Anais Nin, Morrow explores desire and sexuality with a focus on identity and fluidity.
Morrow received a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) Honors from RMIT University, 2017. She has shown her work in exhibitions both locally and internationally, including Yes: A Reflection on Desire, 2018 at SEVENTH Gallery, Melbourne; Arteles Open, 2017, at Arteles Creative Centre, Hämeenkyrö, Finland; ON AIR, 2017 at Landratsamt, Tübingen, Germany; and KTV, 2015 at Sawtooth, Launceston, Tasmania.
ABOUT AINSLEY THARP AND NATHANIEL MOORE
Ainsley Tharp (USA) is a graduate of the University of Iowa where she obtained a BFA in Choreography and Movement Practices. While primarily a dance artist, Tharp is drawn to other modes of artistic expression and crossovers, embedding the moving body in an environment of multimedia elements.
Tharp is fascinated with the act of collaboration; the creative mental and thinking space that is shared by diverse bodies and minds working together. Before her current collaboration with dancer and performance artist Nathaniel Moore (USA), she worked together on durational performances with media artist Pedro Ferreira at SomoS in 2017, performing during “The Beholder” group exhibition.
Tharp returns to SomoS during "Touch me Tenderly", presenting her collaboration with Nathaniel Moore, "Americum", an eco-sexual Oedipal exploration of desire, and a passionate critique of the American myth. The piece engages with the borders of hypersaturated mass visual culture, including the infamous sex tape “One Night in Paris”, and physical human connection. Sophie Morrow’s An Intimate Drama acts as a performative environment and inspiration for "Americum" to interrupt the space in-between subject and object.
Link to "Touch me Tenderly" Facebook event: https://somos.media/ew
Link to Sophie Morrow artist page: https://somos.media/d-
Kottbusser Damm 95
Transport: The subway line U8 station Schönleinstrasse (exit Schinkestrasse) is at SomoS’ doorstep.