Processing the past and digesting the future

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   Processing the past and digesting the future

       April 28th 2023 – June 10th 2023

“The act of eating is not merely about burning calories and producing energy, but it is in fact about replacing each individual part of your body…The flow of food…starts when it is harvested and continues as it is stored, cooked, fermented, chewed in the mouth and digested. In other words, the act of eating, seen from both the perspective of the body and the perspective of food, is inseparable from the flow of time…”

Fukuoka Shin-Ichi, Diet and Life: For Humans to Become People


Taking the digestive organ as a metaphor for the exhibition space “Processing the past and digesting the future”, curated by Huma Kabakcı, featuring artists Saelia Aparicio, Yulia Iosilzon, Anna Perach, Amba Sayal-Bennett and Rafal Zajko, explores the digestive systems on a micro and macro level in the context of our socio-political and natural environments.

In the context of the exhibition, the connection between the gut and the nervous system of the gut, also known as the enteric nervous system (ENS), has been used as a conceptual framework to create a more embodied and immersive experience in Badr El Jundi. By incorporating different stages of digestion and the digestive system as a metaphor responding directly to the space, the works in the exhibition encourage visitors to think critically about the complex processes that shape our social and political environments.

Yulia Iosilzon, The Cereus, 2023

Oil on transparent fabric
183 x 137 cm

Yulia Iosilzon, The Yellow Dot Amanita, 2023

Oil on transparent fabric
25 x 20 cm

Amba Sayal-Bennett, Gauge, 2023

Powder coated mild steel
172 x 52 x 52 cm

Rafal Zajko, Xeixa, 2022

Ceramic, acrylic resin component, vacuum formed acrylic, natural beeswax, melted church candles, crystalline wax
42 x 50 x 14 cm

Rafal Zajko, Diffuse, 2022

Acrylic resin component, glazed terracotta, steel, pigmented silicone gum, pigment, nail
22 x 14 x 4 cm

Rafal Zajko, Klepsydra VI (Seeding), 2022

Laser etched copper plate oxidised by synthetic urine
29 x 21 x 2 cm

Amba Sayal-Bennett, Grain Store, 2018

Ink, Pro-marker and graphite on paper (framed)
21 x 14 cm

Amba Sayal-Bennett, Conte, 2018

Ink, Pro-marker and graphite on paper (framed)
21 x 14 cm

Amba Sayal-Bennett, Neo Deep, 2022

Pro-marker and graphite on paper (framed)
24 x 36 cm

Amba Sayal-Bennett, Cloud generator, 2018

Ink, Pro-marker and graphite on paper (framed)
24 x 36 cm

Saelia Aparicio, Cabeza de Medusa, 2022

Plywood, wood stain, neon
70 x 70 cm

Saelia Aparicio, Jardines de Ashington house, 2022

Terracotta, grow lights, invasive plants (oxalis, tradescantia, ivy and sedums)
30 x 30 x 40 cm

Saelia Aparicio, Casita de almas (antes especies de espacios), 2022

Terracotta, crystal, blown glass, found objects, ceralun
40 x 30 x 17 cm

Anna Perach, Choked, 2022

Axminster yarn, steel, chain, fabric
70 x 30 x 45 cm

Anna Perach, Pain, 2022

Axminster yarn, steel, chain, fabric
70 x 30 x 45 cm

With so many layers of the past and so much bombardment of information about the present, how do we navigate the future? The artists in the exhibition will respond site-specifically to the gallery as a bodily organism to “process” and “digest” our day-to-day internal and external crises. In her multi-disciplinary practice, Saelia Aparicio operates within the paradoxical spaces that the visitor can find in what is considered normal, utilising a unique symbolic system to represent and digest a stark reality. Through topics such as pollution, climate crisis and invasive species, Aparicio’s work navigates between an alternative universe, an ecosystem she creates for the visitor to imagine with her through the materials she uses, the objects she builds, and the shapes she builds. In her paintings, Yulia Iosilzon incorporates vibrant streams of colour and texture, grounding her works within narrative and anecdotes. The artist cites mythology, children’s illustration and theatre as sources of inspiration. With a playful element and experimentation throughout her paintings and ceramic installations, Iosilzon repeats symbols and motifs, building up an iconographic arsenal to comment on personal, social and political issues. 

Her selected paintings for the exhibition show a bodily relationship to nature, blossoming and metamorphosing. Anna Perach’s artistic practice explores the dynamic between personal and cultural myths by interviewing female archetypes into sculptural hybrids to examine ideas of identity, gender, and craft. Through the tufting technique, where she makes a hand-made carpet textile, she transforms them into wearable/interactive sculptures. In her drawings for the exhibition, Perach explores ideas of identity, gender, psychoanalysis and bodily experiences. Amba Sayal Bennet’s recent work explores Chandigarh in post-colonial India and fascist architecture in Rome, engaging and critiquing modernism to project a particular vision of the future. With a focus on architecture, Sayal-Bennet is interested in the role of modernism in expressing certain ideologies and social functions from an embodied perspective and the drawings generated on the production and construction of buildings (including instructive drawings, diagrams, maps and abstractions of sites). Especially in her drawings, digestion is used as a metaphor through translation- metabolising, breaking a drawing apart and reimagining a section. Sayal-Bennet responds to the material similar to paper that bends and folds for the site-specific free-standing sculpture she made from powder-coated mild steel. 

Rafal Zajko’s works deal with issues around the industrial past, exploring its environmental impact concerning working-class heritage and queer identities through bodily references, especially in digesting and breaking down. His sculptural practice incorporates diverse materials and processes, including ceramic, ventilation systems, prosthetics, and performance, to examine Polish folklore, science fiction and queer technoscience. His sculptures in the exhibition include synthetic urine, bodily shapes and different materials emphasising the industrial processes and machinery that resonate with and honour his heritage. Responding to the exhibition space and design reminiscent of an organ or connected organs, the artists delve into scientific and allegorical research investigating methodologies of physical healing, processing and care through their body of work.

Curated by Huma Kabakcı