Emma Hart and Jonathan Baldock
25 June - 1 August 2015
l’étrangère is delighted to announce SUCKERZ, a presentation of new sculptural works by British artists Emma Hart and Jonathan Baldock in their first exhibition together.
Gaping mouths, tongues, nipples, and arseholes occupy the gallery in an agitated display of bodies, orifices and foodstuffs across a messy and precarious banqueting table. SUCKERZ presents Hart’s and Baldock’s grotesque forms in a carnivalesque conglomeration within the gallery: a series of protagonists and props that invite the viewer into the artists’ unofficial feast.
A preoccupation with the grotesque and its relationship to the physical body is present in both Hart’s and Baldock’s practices, which often employ ceramics and textiles. The sweaty skivvies from Hart’s installation at Folkestone Triennial (2014) serve the busts of Baldock’s extravagant ‘fools’, whilst they ‘eat’ with napkins wrapped in tongues off of nipple-punctured plates.
In the back gallery we find flows of spaghetti-locks sprouting out of hair scrunchies placed alongside a screen of hand-sewn peepholes. Order and disorder conflate throughout the exhibition with movements in and out of orifices: expulsion and retraction, sucking in and blowing out. The title of the exhibition refers to the flows, passageways and entry-holes that link our inside and outside spaces. The double bind of interior and exterior experience holds the body in a nervous tension whereby an ‘excess moment’ is always possible: a spill here, a spurt there, or an embarrassing remark that betrays the social pleasantries that simultaneously stress and restrain us.
This push and pull that is embedded within the transgressive body is related to Mikhail Bakhtin’s conception of grotesque realism. In Rabelais and His World (1965) it is described not as ‘a closed, completed unit…[but]…it is unfinished, outgrows itself, transgresses its own limits. The stress is laid on those parts of the body that are open to the outside world, that is, the parts through the world enters the body or emerges from it, or through which the body itself goes out to meet the world’.