CAN’T TOUCH THIS - CHALTON GALLERY, LONDON - 2018

Work by Sanne Maloe Slecht, Grace Woodcock, Marijn Ottenhof, and Ada Hao. Curated by Sanne Male Slecht and Marijn Ottenhof.

‘The show revolves around ideas of tactility, eroticism and alienation. It explores the experience of being touched and the sensation of touching. In the formal approach there’s a sense of sexuality and eroticism of shapes, curves and surfaces. It is as much about the power to decide how things touch you and how you touch your exterior, as about taking the courage to show vulnerability. 

Tactile shapes and the illusion of the partly revealed body teasingly invite to be touched. Temptation is combined with an eerie anxiety what will be revealed, the exposed body could turn out to be disgusting in a gross realness, in shrill contrast to the cleanliness and emptiness of the white cube. An undefined shape in a very lively presence. Soft, shapeless forms have a history in erotic horror films such as The Blob, referring to the ultimate alienness of our own, human body. 

Soft in form yet powerful in its erotic energy, the show explores the feminine perspective of seduction, illusion and narrative as opposed to the cold, mechanical and prude, using a vocabulary of suggestive and very basic poetics of desire. The desire to hide, show, reveal and create erotic tension, the excitement of something that has no defined ‘hard’ shape, that is unknown, that we cannot fully explain. This alienation as we increasingly relate only to machines and to images on a screen, is reflected in a sense of dehumanization, the fantasy of some monstrous "it" trying to take "us" over.’

Images by Eden Hawkins