Emma Hart and Jonathan Baldock Take on the Human Body in ‘SUCKERZ’

L’étrangère gallery is back Wednesday 24 June with yet another ambitious and innovative exhibition, this time from British artists Emma Hart and Jonathan Baldock. The presentation of body-themed sculptural works, which focus especially on our physical entrances and exit ways, is entitled ‘SUCKERZ and is sure to leave the viewer wide-eyed and open-mouthed. Imagine a banquet table set with breast shaped plates and tongue napkin rings. Long arms with graceful fingers holding up trays of what appear to be the outline of wine glasses and carafes. Eyeballs made of shells and mouths spilling with pearls, all coming together into a sort of Bacchinalian feast of the body and it’s parts. The work, especially Hart’s is reminiscent of Sarah Lucas, with that ballsy YBA no-fear aura. I, for one, cannot wait.

Emma Hart and Jonathan Baldock, 2015
Emma Hart and Jonathan Baldock, 2015

Although being shown together for the first time, both Hart and Baldock studied in London, receiving their MA’s from Slade School of Fine Art and Royal College of Art respectively in the early 2000’s. Baldock followed this up with a sculpture residency in Maine, USA, whilst Hart went on to earn her PhD from Kingston University. The title ‘SUCKERZ‘ refers to the internal passageways that connect our inside and outside bodily spaces. These openings all serve a specific purpose, but can also sometimes betray us, leaking everything from  fluids to smells to the wrong choice of words. They are therefore powerful, yet vulnerable, and there is a sort of raw beauty in this vulnerability.

Emma Hart, 'Spread,' 2015
Emma Hart, ‘Spread,’ Art Exchange, 2015. Installation View. Photo: Douglas Atfield

The gallery explains that this concept of the transgressive body is related to Mikhail Bakhtin’s view of grotesque realism in that ‘the stress is laid on those parts of the body that are open to the outside world, that is, the parts through the world enters the body or emerges from it, or through which the body itself goes out to meet the world.’

SUCKERZ‘ explores this concept in a meaningful yet playful manner, and is sure to be a great way to add some extra flush to your cheek this summer, whilst simultaneously taking in some truly stunning art.

Jonathan Baldock, 'Orifice Painting No 4,' 2014
Jonathan Baldock, ‘Orifice Painting No 4,’ 2014. Courtesy of the artist and VITRINE. Photo: Jonathan Bassett

– India Irving

SUCKERZ‘ is on view at l’étrangère from 25 June – 1 August (Private View: 24 June 6:30-8:30PM); 44a Charlotte Road, London EC2A 3PD; Open Tuesday-Saturday 11AM-6PM, or by appointment; Admission: FREE

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