An Elastic Continuum

'An Elastic Continuum' (2023)
Installation view - 'An Elastic Continuum', S1 Artspace (2023). Image credit: James Clarkson
'How to Make' (2023) - 'An Elastic Continuum', S1 Artspace (2023). Image credit: James Clarkson
'The Meaning of Hard Work' (2022) - 'An Elastic Continuum', S1 Artspace (2023). Image credit: James Clarkson
'Look (Under, Over, Through, In-between IV)' (2022) - 'An Elastic Continuum', S1 Artspace (2023). Image credit: James Clarkson
'Soft-Shell' (2023) - 'An Elastic Continuum', S1 Artspace (2023). Image credit: James Clarkson
Installation view - 'An Elastic Continuum', S1 Artspace (2023). Image credit: James Clarkson
17 Jun –
22 Jun

Press release

S1 Artspace is pleased to welcome An Elastic Continuum, an international group exhibition & symposium presented by The ‘New Materialist Reading Group’ (NMRG) featuring the work of 17 contemporary artists, curated by NMRG co-leads Rebecca Howard & Victoria Sharples.

Ellie Barrett | Simon Carter | Grace Clifford | Craig Fisher | Helen Hamilton | Rebecca Howard | Bethan Hughes | Sinéad Kempley | Victoria Lucas | Stephanie Rushton | Victoria Sharples | Emily Speed | Rose Hedy Squires | Rachel Stanley | Lucy Vann | Henriette Von Muenchhausen | Nathan Walker

Arriving from the proposition of ‘skin’, An Elastic Continuum offers an interface with skinnings: surfaces, architectural structures, organisms, membranes and embalmings.

The works on show present a plethora of intersectional readings that transect ontologies of animacy and the sensorial, biotechnical interventions (birth, growth, ailment, and death), human, animal and plant bodies, and spaces of trans-ition, whether -gender, -species or interior-exterior relations).

In An Elastic Continuum, the premise of ‘skin’ is purposefully layered, aggregated and poriferous, as with epidermal and geological stratum, as seen in the work of Carter, Kempley and Lucas. Clifford and Vann’s practices centre on protection and exposure of the soft body: PPE and chronic dermatological conditions. With a focus on façade, veneer and construction, the work of Fisher, Howard and Speed invite thought on the parallels between skin and built spaces through folds, pattern, and costume. Sharples, Stanley, and Walker account for the liminality of skin and the body as a transitory site, whether that be in relation to buildings that temporarily store human bodies (as with mortuaries), or through interior-exterior relations (as with the mouth or uterus). In place of the subject-object binary, the practice of Hamilton, Von Munchhausen and Barrett provide a more permeable and participatory account of matter, where material affordances yield questions of autonomy and the sensible. And the work of Hughes, Squires, and Rushton signal the ways in which human and plant matters are intimately connected through physiology, sexuality, and the military-industrial complex.

More information on each artist’s contribution for either the exhibition or symposium can be found here

The exhibition opens June 16 (18:00–21:00) and runs from June 17­–22 (10:00-16:00). The symposium closes the event on June 22 opening at 13:00 and running till 17:00. Refreshments will be provided.

The symposium’s proceedings:
13:00 Welcome
13:15 Welcome address (Dr. Rebecca Howard & Victoria Sharples)
13:30 Victoria Lucas Screening, Entanglement, Artist Video, 2021, 09:00.
13.40 Victoria Lucas, Working Through the Matter: Technological Conspirators and Methods of Entanglement
14.00 Ellie Barrett, The “Non-Expert”
14.30 Break
14:45 Bethan Hughes, An Elastic Continuum
15:15 Sinéad Kempley, A build-up of moisture
15:45 Stephanie Rushton, Making §~kin
16:15 Q&A
16.45 Close address (Dr. Rebecca Howard & Victoria Sharples)

This event is made possible through the support of S1 Artspace, the University of Derby’s Early-Career Researcher Development Fund, and all of the presenting artists. An Elastic Continuum’s title is used with kind permission from presenting artist Bethan Hughes whose performance-lecture asks: ‘how does this transformed and transformative material create an elastic continuum between humans and the world(s) they inhabit?’ It is with this question, Howard & Sharples selected the contributing works.