Emma Hart, Dirty Looks, 2013. Ceramic and mixed media, 2 views of installation.

London- Emma Hart: Camden Arts Centre

Emma Hart’s Dirty Looks is a kinky office nightmare. Inspired by her time working in a call center, her installation presents a garish Kafka-esque environment in which photocopiers spit out to-do lists and glossy eroticized images of the natural world, some of which are fashioned into a phallic, bucket-headed totem. Filing cabinets, clipboards, and even a water cooler are covered in creepy ceramic tongues. These wet-look, fleshy creations slop, poke, and slither their way through the whole installation, holding up sheets of ceramic “paper,” dangling from canteen trays, and even standing in for the spout of a water jug. The insistence on the tongue calls to mind Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of “grotesque realism,” which has often been pressed into the service of art criticism. Tongues occupy a liminal space. They are at a point of entry to and exit from the body—the mouth an anxious orifice because it questions what is inside and what is outside, destabilizing our sense of self and non-self. One of the installation’s video elements features a series of gaping-mouthed gargoyles in a surreal parody of a police line-up: “No, not that one; no, definitely not,” intones a bored voice.…see the entire review in the print version of May’s Sculpture magazine.

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