Home is set to host an exhibition of new commissions and existing works inspired by the movie Safe.
Set in 1987, Safe stars Julianne Moore as Carol White, a housewife in the San Fernando Valley, and explores her slow decline as she becomes increasingly allergic to everyday domestic products and routine activities, eventually moving to an enclosed community in New Mexico.
The exhibition, curated by Professor Sarah Perks, Home’s Artistic Director: Visual Art and also by independent curator Louise O’Hare, is set to host performance events and installations, digital film installations, a photo-series and sculptures. It will bring together new works and existing pieces. Amongst the five major new commissions are works by Clare Makhlouf Carter, Chris Paul Daniels, Yoshua Okon, Camilla Wills and Turner Prize nominee James Richards. Existing works by artists including Michael Dean, Sunil Gupta, Laura Morrison and Jala Waid will also be on display.
Sarah Perks comments: “This exhibition encompasses what HOME is all about, bringing together a diverse set of artists from around the world, with new contemporary commissions, to debate – in an accessible and meaningful way – aspects of our current climate. Carol White is a central figure that acts as an alibi for us to actually talk openly about how we might be allergic to the 21st century. Whether we identify with her character or not, we are confronted with our own fears and prejudice.”
Claire Makhlouf Carter’s performance events and interventions take place in art openings, seminar rooms, conferences, and off-site spaces, and have featured sniffer dogs, presenters, military mercenaries, fairground workers, mafrish owners, forensic psycho-physiologists, and carpet pickers. Often employing temporary workers, a concern with drawing out the internalised and embodied complexities of social and institutional relations runs throughout Carter’s work.
Chris Paul Daniels is producing a new installation – part institutional critique, part self-help guide, this new audio work questions the expectations of the gallery space to deliver a transformative experience. The work also has a soundtrack by Manchester-based electronic music producer Graham Massey (808 State, Biting Tongues).
Yoshua Okón will present a new digital film installation – The Art of Living – developed from a series of scripted scenarios taking place in show homes in Greater Manchester.
Co-written with curator Sarah Perks, a series of incidents inspired by the script of Safe explore the physical and psychological disintegration of the suburban dream.
James Richards’ new commission has just completed principle photography in Berlin; shot on 16mm, James is directing a series of portraits that will form the basis of an installation featuring unnerving prosthetic mutilations. Combining still life, archive footage and original imagery, the works’ references range from Giuseppe Arcimboldo to Sharon Lockhart.
Camilla Wills’ new installation for Safe will develop her engagement with the act of printing, which becomes a space for interrogating the processes of spread, permeability, diffusion and new meaning. Her work in print, installation, moving image and text considers gendered moments of infection and contact, conviction and hope, through readings of theory, art and medical histories.
Safe will also include a sculptural installation and new moving image work by Laura Morrison, referencing an outside narrative and telling a story that is not quite hers through found photography, Google maps and the publishing of email exchanges. Probing the ethics of social encounters – expectations and assumptions – in an online environment, Morrison questions the line between the public and private, the friendly and soliciting.
In addition, the exhibition will also present Sunil Gupta’s photo-series Pretended Family Relationships (1988), a work responding to Clause 28 which forbade the representation of homosexual relationships; an installation of Michael Dean’s concrete objects – silent works that disrupt the legibility of language and form; and sculpture by Jala Wahid, pushing material hierarchies with her seductive visceral practice.
Speaking of the link to the movie, Louise O’Hare adds: “We’ve been talking a lot about the film as a critique of the alienation produced by consumer culture and discussing how it sat as this painfully silent response to the AIDS epidemic – the belated heterosexual response to the crisis, as well as the looming threat of climate change which permeates the film. In some of the original trailers Safe comes across as this body horror show – and that’s right too. You can see it as a sci-fi, a satire. Its continued resonance – in terms of invisible work, the way society deals with the diseased or fragile body, environmental trauma, and feminism – made it a rich starting point for the exhibition and book.”
New publication title: Transactions of Desire: Are you allergic to the 21st century, edited by Louise O’Hare and Sarah Perks, will feature new work for the page by the artists included in Safe and others including Hannah Black, Sarah Harrison, Peter Kingstone and John Walter.
Taking the form of a self-help book, and reflecting on dialogue used in the film Are you allergic to the 21st century will reflect upon the forms, languages motivations and yearnings of commodified self-help culture. Artists and writers are concerned with the problematics of legitimacy, patriarchal structures, embodied knowledge and autodidacts, invisible labour, the space between device and user, self-love and alienation, and recent critiques of white feminism.
Safe will be exhibited at Home from 14 November 2015 until 3 January 2016.
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