Touching on ideas of seduction, sensuality and transgression, ‘Something soft’ delves into the shifting grounds between sex and intimacy. The exhibition intersects the works of Julie Béna, Susie Green, Zoe Williams and Deniz Ünal, to consider how objects facilitate intimacy and the importance of trust and solidarity. While coming from female perspectives ‘Something soft’ subverts the conflation of softness with femininity– reclaiming tenderness as something which exists beyond gendered norms.
The artists’ spatial interventions, sound works, performances, video and sculpture, flirt with sexual intimacy, power exchange, consensual pain, bodily smells or liquids, bondage and ritual. But rather than sensationalising sexual pleasure, ‘Something soft’ foregrounds moments ofinteraction – touch, spaces between communication, the things which go unsaid – to which the sex act itself can be seen as a biproduct.
As a prelude to ‘Something soft’ Deniz Ünal will perform ‘Characters of Control’ with Amy Gwatkin and Nadja Voorham at Kunstraum on Saturday 6 April (7pm) with the exhibition opening on Friday 12 April (6.30–9pm).
‘Something soft’ is the first of Kunstraum’s exhibitions curated by Co-Director Hannah Conroy, and the first group exhibition here since 2015. It will be accompanied by an events programme reflecting on wider questions of sex, eroticism and flirtation, with contributions by Camille Brechignac, Thomas Cuckle and Camille Houzé.
Susie Green, ‘Slow Burn’, 2017
acrylic paint on cotton bondage rope, knots, steel fixings, 12 x 10-metre lengths
Installation view, Susie Green: Pleasure is a Weapon, Grand Union, Birmingham, 2017
Photo: Patrick Dandy
Julie Béna, ‘Who wants to be my horse?’, 2019