Exhibition: Emotional Resources

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Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art Sunderland

Private View on the 18th September. Opening 19th September – 10 January

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Main Gallery: Victor Alimpiev, Amalia Ulman,  Johann Arens,  Renate Bertlmann,  Ian Breakwell, Harry Burke, Moyra Davey, Július Koller, Daniel Lichtman, Harry Meadley,  Erica Scourti, Matthew Smith, Pilvi Takala, Marie Toseland,  Phoebe Unwin, Donald Urquhart

Project Space: Joanna Piotrowska

“To intimate is to communicate with the sparest of signs and gestures, and at its root intimacy has the quality of eloquence and brevity” Lauren Berlant

What does it mean to convert private experience into public speech? Emotional Resources is a group exhibition that brings together art works from an international group of artists from the Seventies to the present day, exploring forms of intimacy and the everyday. The artists employ a range of approaches and media, including painting, video, photography and performance.  Alongside the group show NGCA will present Polish photographer Joanna Piotrowska’s first solo exhibition, S.W.A.L.K (Sealed with a Loving Kiss) in the Project Space. From the tender touch to an awkward embrace the exhibitions ask, how did the public sphere become saturated with the exposure of private life? 

The artworks shift between embodied forms of conversation such as speech and gesture towards more textual forms of communication, registering a curiosity in the overlooked details of daily life. Intimacy, to paraphrase Lauren Berlant, has the ability to repel the rhetoric and logic of law and politics within the public sphere and engender more intuited relationships. We can see the love letter in the workplace as a radical act; vulnerability and awkwardness can be a quest for something more authentic.  At a moment when the division between private and public is increasingly dissolved, how do we value emotionalism?

Central to the exhibition is J.K. – Ping-Pong Club (U.F.O.), 1970 – 2007, a functioning Ping-Pong table by Július Koller. The work attempts to disarm the usual expectations of a gallery environment and calls for a more playful and social engagement with public space. Working in Communist Czechoslovakia throughout the Seventies and Eighties, Koller’s work offered a spirited counterpoint to a society that was increasingly governed by bureaucracy. This serves as a guiding principle for ‘Emotional Resources’, and suggests that it is valuable to assert our personal histories and actual bodies into public concerns.  

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About georgevasey

George Vasey is a curator and writer. You can contact him at georgegrahamvasey@gmail.com

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