Sleek and lustrous, the exhibition ‘Drip into Something More Comfortable’ by collaborative artists Paddy Gould and Roxy Topia at George and Jørgen, has had multiple- climaxes before coming to an end this weekend. The exhibition is still open today, but don’t worry if you have missed it, there will be more to come in July at Studio 1.1.
Topia and Gould are more than collaborative artists; they have also been in a relationship for many years. Their work is conspiratorial, but they invite us to share in a celebration of pleasure.
The kitsch aesthetic of much of their work reflects a kind of crystallized sensuality. Each work in the series of sculptures inspired by their underwear is attentively named. The monumentalizing of wet lingerie is at once formal and transient. The sculptures are unyielding clay forms, and are presented solemnly on plinths throughout the gallery, but the surfaces are shifting, glittery and elusive. Topia and Gould perhaps want to remind us of the ephemeral nature of sex itself, but also that it can have lingering significance long after its sensory impact.
Topia and Gould’s relationship is unabashedly the foundation on which their ideas are based. They use their voices in the video ‘Giddiness and Wellbeing’, but this is presented in a fragmented way, so that when we are watching the piece, we are not necessarily thinking of them, but of the sounds and sensations of the piece itself. The magnification of physical intimacy, and the isolated imagery of body parts, gradually abstracts the initial awareness of its private significance for the artists. Their work may begin at a very specific individualistic and intimate point, but it folds open into something universal. It is the objectification of a sensation rather than of a person.
For me, the highlight of the exhibition was the drawings. Neon bright, and with minute markings that are perfectly executed, these are seductive diagrams. Not erotic per-se, they are beautiful and uncensored. They are time-invested representations of moments of ecstasy. Earthly waves of physicality translate into neat temporal rhythms of mark-making, which remind us of the fleeting nature of sensations.
In the art world, sex is often featured in terms of gender politics, power, judgment and mortality. It is rarely the subject for celebration and light-heartedness. Topia and Gould’s artwork is refreshing and liberating, and whilst it touches on the more complex issues of sexuality, it maintains a glorious sense of the human potential for physical and sensual pleasure.
Look out for Topia and Gould’s next show at Studio 1.1 (dates in July to be confirmed).
Follow their artistic exploits on their blog: