Curated by Meagan Jones (SA), Feat artists: Allison Chhorn, Ebony Heidenreich, Emily Clinton, Tamzin Buchan, Kerryn Levy, Zoe Brooks (Disembodied) and Diarmid Campbell (Diarmid Campbell at FELTspace)

Author – Susanne Watson 

The mostly white palette in FELTspace Gallery is deceptively ethereal, for the Disembodied exhibition is anything but otherworldly.  The limited colour of the walls and artwork serve to focus our attention onto the all-too-worldly functions of the body and the mind. Upon close viewing, the ceramics, sculptures and videos, curated by Meagan Jones, ask the viewer to contemplate the connection of the human psyche to cultural and social constructions that define human physicality. In examininga the state of being disembodied, Tamzin Buchan, Allison Chhorn, Ebony Heirdenreich, Emily Clinton, Zoe Brooks and Kerryn Levy have either dissected the body, or purged it altogether.

Tamzin Buchan focuses on the function of the mouth in Crescendo. A 90 second video reveals the sound of breath that escapes from a closely cropped imaged of a mouth. Buchan explores small shifts of sound so that the breath eventually becomes an eerie noise for an uncomfortable duration. By altering a sound inherent in the physical functions of life, she has inserted the reality of a primal psychological and corporeal fear. Allison Chhorn also uses tightly composed views of the body in her video Close Ups. She uses rhythm and movement to disorientate the observer. By pulling in the spectator with attention grabbing lighting and motion, the relationship between screen and viewer body is blurred.

The Presence of Absence, by Ebony Heidenreich, alludes to a missing body with an empty wooden chair placed on top of a rug made of ash.  The ash makes it appear as if a body may have disintegrated. A table is placed against the wall and tilted up so that it flattens against the wall in a surreal way. Heidenreich examines objects that represent anonymous female labour of handicrafts. Through her art, she wonders if meditational and mind soothing benefits from physical acts of making are disrupted by a fast paced world and what affect this may have on the psyche.

There is also an absence of the body in the ceramic wall sculptures by Emily Clinton. In A Tentative Slip, the body is hinted at with an imprint of a clenched palm that has marked the otherwise smooth ceramic surfaces. Inspired by the Surrealist painters, she places importance on the moment of awakening, when the unconscious mind meets the conscious one. Her sculptures become a bed sheet, grabbed upon awakening from a dream state. The unseen body searches for the physicality of the sheet as a sign of entering the tangible world from the unconscious.

Zoe Brooks focuses on the function of hands in a video on the wall within Rude Thoughts on Polite Conversation. Parts of the film show a person making and writing. A screen made of steel, concrete and plastic bags is set between the viewer and the moving image. The barrier between the spectator and the artwork represents restrained physical actions and dialogue between people. Brooks represents inherent human feelings and bodily urges that are inwardly experienced but not outwardly divulged. The screen is a physical manifestation of the veil between an inner dialogue and an outward idea of conversation and interaction.

Suspended from the ceiling, Kerryn Levy’s ceramic disembodied organs from Second Nature float in the air. Subtlety incorporating elements of modern technology into their detail, she questions the seemingly natural integration between technology and people.  An inconspicuous earplug interrogates the effect of machinery on the body. A socket seamlessly sitting on an internal organ examines the continuous blurring of boundaries between human and human-made.

In the back gallery, Diarmid Campbell has constructed a wall dissecting the middle of the room, constricting movement through the space. The wall is a physical representation of the mental barriers people put up as part of daily social interactions. In doing so, Campbell highlights the propensity for humans to create emotional constraints and how these affect our relationships.