Hidden Pleasures: ‘Crush’ at Feld+Haus

by Nadia Egan // Mar. 25, 2022

The word “crush” has multiple meanings. Not only does it evoke a world of lust and passion, but also a feeling of being crushed, rejected and outcast. Its two distinct yet paradoxical meanings mirror a narrative often lived by LGBTQI+ identifying groups, and serve as a point of departure and exploration in Feld+Haus’ most recent group show.

image of sculpture in front of painting

‘Crush’, installation view at Feld+Haus // Photo by Alana Lake

‘Crush’ is above all an exhibition about desire and queer social exclusion. It reflects multiple journeys and speaks through more than one voice, as the works in the exhibition examine freedom, identity, sex, sexuality, power and control as well as the complex array of emotions triggered by these structural narratives. Despite being born from a climate of fear and anxiety, the works showcased continue to look towards a more unified future, personifying a desire to connect and to be accepted.

The exhibition is curated by artist Alana Lake and forms an extension of her ongoing research project ‘Pleasure Drive’—an exploration into the relationship between art and psychoanalysis. Lake’s work, of which two pieces feature in the show, draws from psychoanalytic theories, as well as a rich tapestry of dreamwork and subconscious forces. With a functionless hand-blown glass bong standing before a painted sky, ‘You are the Crack Like Haze in my Brain’ is the first of Lake’s showcased works, speaking about relationship dynamics and likening the effect of desire to something of a drug-like experience. In an opposing sentiment, Lake encapsulates the feeling of melancholy in ‘Sad Day for Cloud’ by painting a crying cloud amidst an emotive colour palette. The half-painted, somewhat lethargic rendition of a cloud aptly embodies and unites the universal feelings of loneliness and isolation so inherent to social exclusion.

Alana Lake: ‘HITS (You are the crack like haze in my brain),’ 2022 // Courtesy of the artist

Anne Tompuri’s ‘The Faces’—a series of large-scale monochromatic portraits—confronts visitors in the first of the gallery’s two studio spaces. The shrouded yet piercing gazes of Tompuri’s faces duly set the tone. Dominating the space, the paintings document the faceless and the oppressed, embodying the experience of a marginalised existence or lack of acceptance. The identity of the faces has been deliberately obscured, with the gender, race and cultural background left unknown. But despite the veil of black that absorbs the figures, their eyes penetrate through, compelling us to recognise their existence and presence in the room.

monochrome painting of a face

Anne Tompuri: ‘The Faces,’ 2015 // Photo by Alana Lake

In the second studio space, Marianna Ignataki’s anthropomorphic sculpture functions as the centrepiece and transports the visitor into the artist’s own subliminal world, where familiar entities engage in perverse pleasures. Her work often gestures towards hidden instincts and subconscious desires, meanwhile creating a space in which fantasy and perversion can be celebrated. ‘The Lost Souls – Jane’ stands at an imposing height of two-metres-tall, clad top to toe in black lace. From phallic-like facial features to erotic leather underwear hanging between the thighs, the work is nothing short of sexually-charged. This gender nonconforming figure transcends boundaries and allows for the exploration of otherness while opening a discourse on identity and desire.

‘Crush,’ 2022, installation view at Feld+Haus // Photo by Alana Lake

In the far corner, Artor Jesus Inkerö’s video installation ‘Short Reach’ plays on a loop. Inkerö, a non-binary artist, uses moving image and photography to explore Westernised notions of masculinity, often raising the question of how language, gesture and tone of voice can deny or allow access to specific groups. ‘Short Reach’ examines these notions through small gestures and poses, as the artist meditates on their own role and position in society. The artist touches on ideals of masculinity through their use of gym clothing—a subculture infiltrated by Inkerö in their long-term performative research—while using subtle, sometimes feminine-like movements to create a juxtaposition between societal expectations of gender conformity.

image of paintings on wall

‘Crush’, installation view at Feld+Haus // Photo by Alana Lake

Considering ‘Crush’ from its psychoanalytical perspective, the exhibition successfully encapsulates and exposes the psychological impact established through social exclusion, while simultaneously creating a safe space in which desires can be explored. The works are wrought with emotion, with anything ranging from anger to passion, sadness to joy. They function as a medium through which the artists can explore the forces that guide their subconscious, while together allowing the voices of a marginalised society to ultimately take centre stage.

Exhibition Info

Feld+Haus Projects

Group Show: ‘Crush’
Exhibition: Mar. 11–Apr. 2, 2022
feld-haus.com
finnland-institut.de
Seestraße 131, 13353 Berlin, click here for map

Comments

  1. Benjamin Houitte on

    Dear Berlin Art Link magazine,

    thank you very much for such a well-written and engaging article about CRUSH!
    As co-organisers of the exhibition, we would also appreciate if you had the possibility to add our name “Finnland-Institut” in the running text or under the exhibition info. We would also be grateful if you could add a link to our homepage.

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    Kind regards
    Ystävällisin terveisin
    Mit freundlichem Gruß

    Benjamin Houitte
    Intern at the “Finnland-Institut in Deutschland”

    Reply

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