‘People Like You + Me’, an Anti-Valentine’s exhibition by Julia Howe and Arietta Chandris

A1J, Poster, Credits: Julia Howe

No plans for Valentine’s Day? Over binge-watching Bridget Jones in bed? Your date ghosted you last-minute? Don’t despair, hun! No need to indulge in window / online shopping. ‘People Like You + ME’, a collaboration between Julia Howe , Arietta Chandris and the Amsterdam/LA-based designer Hardeman, is the exhibition you were waiting for, celebrating all the hardships of love, intimacy, lust and limerence.

This exhibition is based on a project exploring the ongoing boundaries between intimacy, heartache, lust and limerence through exploratory images v. found material, diary entries, love letters and detritus left behind by heartbreak: it dwells on the phases of love that range from the transcendental to the mundane, in the process of releasing old love and relinquishing the control we crave over our unruly heart

Photographer Julia Howe says: ‘ The exhibition is kind of like an Anti-Valentine’s Day art event to highlight all the other things about love we do not talk about so often, the heartbeat, the striving for intimacy, the loss and gain of connection, the feeling when there’s something missing in an almost perfect relationship’.

Lips, Credits: Julia Howe

Julia Howe and Arietta Chandris make us reflect on the idea of fleeting intimacy and loneliness, exploring with two different approaches the notion of limerence: while for Howe, ‘it is the trouble of letting go of the love of the love rather than the love of the person- the longing to keep an old wound open, hearing a song that makes your chest tighten’, for Chandris ‘it is reminiscent of having a teenage crush, and not connected to an unreciprocated fantasy aspect, a form of emotional dependency’.

Mott, Credits: Julia Howe
Santiago, Credits: Julia Howe

On the collaborative process with painter Arietta Chandris, Howe says: ‘We have decided to work together because, even though mediums of workings are different, me being very rushed and spontaneous and Arietta being slow and gentle, it still allows the same room for intimacy and creation on the feelings of love and lost’.

The struggle for connection and a similar take on fleeting intimacy is the common thread of Howe and Chandris’ artistic practice.

Sheets, 2018, Oil on linen, 30 x 30 cm. Credits: Arietta Chandris.

For ‘PEOPLE LIKE YOU + ME’, Athens-born Arietta Chandris has painted three brand new pieces, called “Love on a night train part 1”, “Love on a night train part 2”, and “Love on a night train part 3″.

These three pieces are paintings of three different couples sharing an intimate moment on the tube. Each couple is evidently in different stages of their relationship, the first is a bit older and married, the second are young and in the middle of conversation but obviously very comfortable with each other, and the third look as though they are in the beginning stages of their romance. 

Image preview
Love on a night train part 1, 2020, Oil and phototransfer on canvas, 50.8 X 61cm.
Credits: Arietta Chandris
Love on a night train part 2, 2020, Oil and phototransfer on canvas, 50.8 X 61cm.
Credits: Arietta Chandris

These three new pieces are part of the the ongoing project titled ‘Finding Closeness’ (despite the world), a series focused on trying to capture moments of fleeting intimacy and closeness in public spaces.

Intimacy is not considered as something romantic necessarily, but mostly as ‘an innate human capability toward caring and being engaged with others, the idea that when we are in public we tend to have our guard up, but occasionally we let that guard down and that’s when we can witness such moments of fleeting intimacy as it were’, enunciates Chandris.

Love on a night train part 3, 2020, Oil and phototransfer on canvas, 50.8 X 61cm.
Credits: Arietta Chandris

Fleeting encounters will not going to be the same now after visiting the show! How do you relate to themes such as love crush and loneliness?

‘PEOPLE LIKE YOU + ME’ is showing at East London Liquor Company from the 14th – 16th February, with a private view on the evening of the 12th February from 6pm.

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