Contemporary art exhibition, Joy Before the Object manipulates viewer perception at Seventeen Gallery, London.
Curated by Hoxton Distillery and supported by Arts University Bournemouth, Joy Before the Object focuses on artwork that emphasises or documents the placing, nudging and kneading of material, in the form of photography, sculpture, video, painting, or various hybrids. The work encourages the viewer to take pleasure in the results of others’ activity and recognise in them their own contingency, their own analogous subjectivity.
The subjectivity of the exhibition showcases various different topics from a collection of artists, including Simon Cunningham and Richard Paul, two members of staff from the Photography subject area at AUB.
Simon Cunningham’s ‘Duckrabbit’ poses the same perceptual problem as the famous two-dimensional illustration, with the additional complication of tactility and form. The ambiguous image known as the Rabbit – Duck illusion is given substance by Cunningham as a taxidermied sculpture. It’s hard not to reach for this impossible object, turn it over in your hands, to better understand it through touch. Simultaneously one and other, the work is an inscription of difference within the same.
Richard Paul’s backlit images of paperweights use the technology of the lenticular to simulate binocular vision. Inspired by German Philosopher Peter Sloterdijk’s book Bubbles, which deals with contingent and permeable containers through which the interpenetration of subjects can happen – think of magnetic fields, mesmerism, the transfer of blood vapours in classical Greek notions of love, breath in bubbles or sound heard in the womb.
Paul’s lenticulars posit a halfway point between object and depiction, exploiting the transparent nature of the glass to suggest a perceptual slippage into the interior of these spheres.
“I was invited by David Hoyland of Seventeen Gallery, London to curate an exhibition last November. I chose to base it around the idea of the expanded still life, incorporating photography, painting, video and sculpture – calling it Joy before the object. I was delighted to be given research money by AUB to produce 3D lenticular lightboxes, which feature in the exhibition. I was also excited to be able to include Simon Cunningham’s new photographic work and his Duckrabbit sculpture. Joy before the object also includes a range of fantastic international artists; don’t miss it!” – Richard Paul, Senior Lecturer, BA (Hons) Photography.