Curated by Oli Epp
Let the Freudian Finger point you to Zsófia Keresztes’ mosaic crown jewels, and then to Sarah Slappey’s painterly perversions and fiery manicures before leading into the garden of unearthly desire in the work of Robin Mason. This trinity of artists, drawn together from three different locations direct you towards three perceptions of the body and mind with a Surrealist spirit.
A revert to Surrealism is inevitable given current times – an exploration of the mind as a mode to understand the human psyche and all its desires, quirks, kinks, angst and roaring humour. On one ‘hand’, Slappey’s paintings, featuring pearl necklaces that seek solace in the crevices of sapphic forms and on the other, Keresztes’ mosaic aliens bounce between portrayals of pixels and the digital world which mirrors the Surrealist fascination with technology and the New World. The bondage of Slappey and Keresztes seem innocent in comparison to their Surrealist forefather, Hans Bellmer, but hits that contemporary sweet spot, that dances on the lines of abject and endearing, a song to our modern super ego. Mason’s also pays homage to Freud, a surrealist inspiration, and his model of the psyche – id, ego and superego – with a gusto Andre Breton would raise his hat to.
Nostalgia comes to play and ties a knot between all the artists featured in Fingertips. Whether it is a play on memory, a haunting deja vu or a tongue in cheek anecdote, the works are imbued with a humour that both tickles and terrifies. Slappey, Mason and Keresztes have an unsettling familiarity that you can’t quite put your finger on.
An organ to manipulate, investigate and create sensation, the symbol of the ‘finger’ is found symbolically and physically in the works featured in the show. From a soft caress to the torturing sexual pleasures inflicted by these great hands, the works of these artists are a direct channel from mind to matter.
The body – and its parts, often separate – is an ongoing theme. Like a game of Operation, we invite you to walk between the works and put them back together; voluptuous derrieres, elongated fingers, sunken eyes, hollow orifices, breasts and naughty bits…
Slappey’s pervasive imagery takes on a more saccharine sensibility with the fleshy pinks – derived surely from Rubenes-que cherubs – are touched with icy greys cold against the blush of such voluptuous derrieres. Nipples, bums and tums writhe with silky emphasis and wrists flick with a Parisian flair as with a dash the cigarette turns into bullet silver tampons.
Stories and tales from a life well lived inform the theatrical backdrop of Mason’s altarpiece riddled with symbols, text and numbers that occur like cyphers and codes. The Tree of Life is taken with lust as its branches probe and caress the silky Sacred Heart. As the curtains are opened to Mason’s world the religious symbolism is clear – the symbol of the Sacred Heart, a ruby red vagina that also represents Christ’s gaping wound – is spread open on a tree. Childhood innocence is brought to the fore and abjection lurks in the shadows as icons from our Medieval past receive a contemporary reincarnation executed with Boschian drama.
Teal rope wraps and wriggles around Keresztes’ strange amorphous mosaic sculptures similar to the intricate tyings in the Japanese tradition of Shibari. Entrapped by the rough confines of aquamarine string the glossy surface is manipulated to create a dynamism as the form is almost alive in its construction but decidedly cold to touch.
Co-written by Aindrea Emelife and Oli Epp