Interior Life

Herbert Read Gallery, Canterbury

02.11.10 – 27.11.10

The exhibition Interior Life explores the problem of interiority and its construction within architectural spaces.  In a recent magazine interview the philosopher Peter Sloterdijk defines the human need for an interior space as a primary need. The work in Interior Life pictures or constructs interior spaces and in doing so establishes a place in which to reflect upon the feeling and meaning of this need. The diversity of approaches reflected in the work in the exhibition points to the multiplicity of experiences and thoughts that circulate between a body and the space that operates to enclose it.

The materiality of contemporary interiors plays a central role in the exhibition and it finds itself reflected in various ways.  The commodification and instrumentalization of the contemporary interior may be understood to eclipse or even remove time and memory from the surface of a ‘living room’: in effect, it often inhibits what might be called the deep occupation of a space.  Mary Maclean’s meticulously constructed photographs dwell on this blankness but through a visualizing reverie she finds traces and anticipations of a presence on the surface of functional forms.  The psychological impulse to transform a space is extended in the stage like scenes painted by Camilla Wilson.  Their suggestions of intimacy are ambiguous, however.  Representational devices function both to draw the viewer in and to frustrate the desire for a total possession of space.

One consequence of the critical attention given to the public realm is that interior or a private space can become negatively defined as a retreat.  Bernice Donszelmann uses materials to reanimate space and introduce an elasticity between body and space that metaphorically folds the two distinct realms into one another.  The interior here is conceived responsive to the needs and movements of an occupying body rather than a fixed and static enclosure. The interdependence between bodies and space runs through the exhibition.  In Tim Renshaw’s ‘Paintings for Tabletops’ the relationship is pictured as a series of plans that fuse Modernist modular proportions designed with bodies in mind with Bruno Taut’s colour alphabet that would chart a space alternatively according to sensations.

Exhibiting artists: Bernice Donszelmann, Natasha Kidd, Mary Maclean, Tim Renshaw, Camilla Wilson

Exhibition publication Interior Life, written by Bernice Donszelmann