This exhibition is an exploration of the emotive qualities and visual interpretations of abstract concepts such as: “Living in the moment”, “a floating world” a “suspension” or “lightness”.
These concepts can also be traced back to the Japanese term Ukiyo-e – meaning a floating/fleeting/transient world, used to describe the urban lifestyle and culture, especially the pleasure-seeking aspects, of the Edo period in Japan from the 17th to 19th centuries. Artists from this period often produced woodblocks (pictures of the floating world) that contained references to geisha, kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers, scenes from history and folk tales, travel scenes, landscapes, fauna, and flora. The term ukiyo, when written as meaning “the floating world”, is also an ironic, homophonous allusion to the earlier Buddhist term ukiyo, meaning “sorrowful world”. In its modern usage, the term ukiyo is used to refer to a state of mind emphasising living in the moment, detached from the difficulties of life.
Throughout history, art has often demonstrated the capacity to evoke emotions and feelings in the viewer, through its visual representations. It is therefore poignant to consider momentarily, the idea of a suspension of disbelief – a moment where anything might be possible and believable for the sake of enjoyment. Aristotle first explored the concept in its relation to the principles of theatre and the experience of catharsis. He used this metaphor to compare the effects of tragedy on the mind of a spectator, to the effect of catharsis on the body. The idea is that a momentary escape from reality may allow the viewer to purge emotions that lead to a positive experience and feeling of renewal. It is therefore an interesting comparison to consider in the realm of art. And especially considering the current difficulties experienced on a global scale. As such, this exhibition can be considered to offer a temporary moment of escape, passage, or relief, wherein something from the outside world pauses. The viewer is invited to join the artists in their exploration of feelings associated with stillness, weightlessness, floating worlds and living in the moment.
Stephen Rosin’s scenes offer satirically animated figures and symbols suspended in a mirage of sorts. He references popular culture, expressions, and historical events, drawing the viewer into a magical realm, a multi-layered narrative created with bullet lead, a shot in the dark… Alexia Vogel’s works offer dreamlike translations of the sublime nature of nostalgia. Her imagined paradise renounces the logic of time, in order to reach a space and state more felt than perceived, a space of sustained reverie and suspended sensation. For Stephen Rosin, the “paradise lost” has been found and his caricatures suggest humanity’s constant search for the utopian ideal of paradise which seems precariously crowded.
Jayne Crawshay-Hall explores memory, excitement, and childhood enthusiasm through her medium. 100s&1000s, confetti, tinsels, bright colours, and the folds in comforting materials serve as a reminder of a simplicity that lurks behind the chaos of the current moment. The title of the workI Played/I Amused/I Anticipated further introduces a moment of anticipation; where the artist or perhaps the viewer can expect something magical or random to happen.
Marguerite Roux’s works highlight a longing to escape to nature. For her, they are symbolic of an imaginary world, providing a breath of fresh air, a moment of freedom. Enveloped in the imagined landscape these works provide, she feels unbound, weightless, and afloat.