• Daria Martin, Sensorium Tests (film still), 2012, © the artist, courtesy Maureen Paley, London

Exercises in Empathy

Sat 25 Jul 2015 – Sat 05 Sep 2015 Exercises in Empathy (open )
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Preview: Friday 24 July, 6 – 9pm


Exercises in Empathy explores how the body senses objects and responds to concepts and ideas through touch and movement. Inner and outer worlds blur into each other as acts of repetition, mirroring and meditation are used to navigate and feel the world around us. The exhibition is comprised of film, photographs, sculpture and archival materials by Daria Martin, Ian Whittlesea and Rudolf von Laban.

Daria Martin’s film Sensorium Tests (2012) examines mirror-touch synaesthesia, a condition where people feel touch on their own body when they witness touch on another person. The film opens up questions how images reflect us, how as viewers we relate to artworks and how images become active in and outside of us.

Ian Whittlesea presents an array of materials relating to Swiss artist and Bauhaus teacher Johannes Itten (1888-1967) and his immersion in Mazdaznan, a mystic cult of breathing and exercise which swept through Europe from the early twentieth century. A single sculpture by Whittlesea, A Breathing Bulb (2014), sits alongside these archival examples. The lone bulb repeatedly fades from intense brightness: the slow pulse of the bulb is equivalent to a single mantra, the light strengthening in the same way the abdomen rises during inhalation and then dimming as the abdomen would fall during exhalation.

Rudolf von Laban (1879-1958) was a dancer and choreographer, whose inquiries into movement theory signalled a new era in dance scholarship and education. He used geometrical models as tools to map physical movement and think into space. Five of his handmade choreutic educational models, constructed from a variety of materials including wood, string and metal, will be displayed in the gallery, with films and photographs of Laban demonstrating their use.