*Performance by Louise Ashcroft. Thursday 13 December, 6pm
*Performance by five vocalists from the choral collective Musarc: Megan Jenkins, Natalia Kieniewicz, Andrew Price, Alice Watson and Caleb Watson. Wednesday 19 December, 6pm
curated by Riet Timmerman
“The body implies mortality, vulnerability, agency: the skin and the flesh expose us to the gaze of others, but also to the touch, and the violence, and bodies put us at risk of becoming the agency and instrument of all these as well” (1).
Stones cannot be penetrated, instead, they splinter and break into smaller and smaller pieces without the water ever reaching their interior. They appear to be the same material through and through, surface being the same as the inside (2). As humans, we can try to turn our hearts into stone or to become hard as a rock, but our bodies and skin remain fragile and susceptible to exposure.
The skin, as the largest and fastest-growing organ, protects us, shapes our bodies and identities. In the Greek myth of Marsyas, the satyr is stripped from his skin as a punishment for defying Apollo. During this murderous act, Marsyas shrieks “Why, art thou tearing me from myself” (3), implying that his embodiment is compromised, making him vulnerable to be wounded. Besides forming our physique, this epidermal surface acts as a memory palace for our physical sensations – from touch to irritation – building layer upon layer. Unlike Marsyas’ physical skin, these memories cannot be stripped away.
In this exhibition, Chozas’ sculptural installations allude to opaque bodies, which have lost their outline and rigidity, dissolving into unstable, blurred, hybrid forms. There are traces left of hidden memories, untold stories or invisible secrets, which are slowly unfolded in the narrative and sound performances.
Let us sink into surfaces, let’s move, let’s listen. It is time we uncovered the layers.
1) Judith Butler, Precarious Life, Verso: London, 2004
2) Emmanuel Alloa, Band(ag)ing The Body, in: Berlinde De Bruyckere, Edited by Angela Mengoni, 2014
3) Ovid, Metamorphoses book VI, Translated by Henry T. Riley, 1851
Javier Chozas lives and works in London. His recent work is related to the concept of the abject, its social role and the anxiety of human existence in contemporary culture. His sculptures reflect on our complex and intimate relationships with the dark beasts that surround our daily lives, from the more intimate encounters with ourselves and our flesh to the more structural state violence that regulates our lives. Chozas holds an MFA in Fine Art from UCM Madrid in 2013. He also recently graduated from the MFA Fine Art at Goldsmiths College in 2018.
Recent solo and group exhibitions include Any-Space-Whatever, Degree show Goldsmiths MFA Fine Art, London, (2018); A Handful of Uncertainty and Joy, Chalton Gallery, London, (2017); The K.I.S.S. Principle, KASKL, Berlin, DE, (2017); The Collector of Secrets, Twin Gallery, Madrid, SP, (2017); Keep Calm and Carry On, Tabacalera, Madrid, SP, (2016); Solatge, Bòlit Centre d’Art Contemporani de Girona, Girona, SP, (2015); Rock Me, Baby Maputo, Twin Gallery, Madrid, SP, (2015); El Ranchito, Matadero, Madrid, SP, (2014); Intransit, C arte C Museum, Madrid, SP, (2014); Estudio 120m, Museo Wurth La Rioja, Logroño, SP, (2013); Entre el reflejo, Galería Espacio Mínimo, Madrid, SP, (2013); Destino / Zielort, Kunsthaus Bethanien, Berlin, DE, (2011). He has also been part of artist residencies at La Panacée, Centre d’Art Contemporaine, Montpellier, FR and Bòlit Centre Centre d’Art Contemporani, Girona, SP in 2015.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)