‘FLUID’: Exploring Gender Fluidity in Contemporary Culture at Espacio Gallery

Logo of Fluid ©Human IEU

Artists collective Human IEU presents ‘FLUID’, a group show bringing together the work of eleven artists on the concept of fluidity, relating to gender identity as well as working methodology. The exhibition showcases a wide range of media from the performative assemblages of Graeme Messer to the oil pantings of Jonathan Armour.

Remembering that the body is 60 % water, curators encourage visitors to think about the pivotal role of fluids in the human experience.

Pillow head” © Graeme Messer

Graeme Messer is a multi-disciplinary artist working and living in London.  Drawing on a background in theatre, Graeme combines performance with assemblage and the written word to create an art “that is direct, funny, moving, uncomfortable and unashamedly autobiographical”. 

“I am interested in exploring the fluid nature of psyche; the dreams, fantasies and traumas we experience as we move between the waking / conscious world and subconscious. My art practice is likewise fluid in nature, transitioning between sculpture, assemblage, performance”, Messer said.

We are such stuff“. Video created by Graeme Messer in collaboration with performer Angel Ito for FLUID, 2019 ©Graeme Messer

Mathias Vef is a Berlin-London based digital artist, whose kaleidoscopic practice investigates ideas of body modification: his obsession with bodies is made clear by his collages, which feature body-builders such as Rummelsnuff or tattooed models such as DJ, Model and Producer Samantha Togni.

“I am interested in the area where bodies and identity meet. And I am inspired by people who see their body as a kind of speculative material, a tool and process of being and ‘becoming’, which I can use as material to deconstruct and rearrange”, says Vef.

Vef has recently begun to use as a painting tool GHB/GBL, a recreational drug, dope for bodybuilding, but also a chemical color remover that is used to clean buildings from graffiti. This material contributes to enhancing a sort of dissolving aesthetics, which captures the eye of the onlookers.

“Hacked bodies” are then represented through Vef’s work as fleeting and volatile, as an “expression of consciousness”, in order to stimulate a reflection on Liquid Modernity, theory formulated by philosopher Zgymunt Bauman , which is based on the assumption that structures in life are transient and have a plastic nature.

Mathias Vef, Rummelsnuff, 2014 from the series “Human Becoming” ©Mathias Vef
Gloria 01″, 2018 ©Mathias Vef

Jonathan Armour‘s practice is an experimental trans-media “enquiry of the body and the skin, and involves probing the interfaces with which that body connects with the world”. The exhibition ‘Fluid‘ features “Solution“, a series of oil paintings and preparatory drawings which explore the interaction between the human body and liquids and ponder the outcomes provided by the fluid.

The work has been made in collaboration with model Pavel Vacek, photographer Francisco Gomez De Villaboa and fellow Fluid artist Sheila Wallis.

The series has been inspired by Rembrandt’s “Slaughtered Ox“, and Andres Serrano’s “Immersions” photos, of which the“Piss Christ (1987) is the most famous.

Ab!solution“, from the” Solution” series, oil painting ©Jonathan Armour
Dis!solution“, from the “Solution” series, oil painting ©Jonathan Armour

Hailing from Derry, Northern Ireland artist Sheila Wallis displays a series of preliminary watercolour studies, featuring the model Pavel Vacek (also featured in the “Solution” series above).

The series draws on religious imagery, taking as an inspiration scenes of the Christ Deposition from Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Rubens with the aim of providing a more intimate study of the male body.

Man”, from a watercolour series ©Sheila Wallis
Man”, from a watercolour series ©Sheila Wallis
Man”, from a watercolour series ©Sheila Wallis

Artists on display: Jonathan Armour, Susie Breen, Brian Dennis, Samuel Douek,
Stuart Howitt, Brother Kwan, Graeme Messer, Georg Meyer-Wiel,
Sheila Wallis, Mathias Vef, Ali Zaidi

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