On Sleeping and Drowning

On Sleeping and Drowning

A new solo exhibition by London-based artist Esther Teichmann.

Working with photography across still and moving image installations, Teichmann looks at the relationships between loss, desire and the imaginary, slipping between autobiography and fiction.

On Sleeping and Drowning transforms the gallery space into a layered liquid montage of photographs, painted backdrops, moving image, sound and objects. Cyanotype seaweed creatures are juxtaposed with painted photographic backdrops of caves, a boat with cloud sails, and photographs of women sleeping, dreaming and swimming through otherworldly spaces.

The exhibition plunges the audience into an alternate orphic world, moving within womb-like spaces of beds, swamps, caves and grottos, in search of a primordial return. The photographic images slip in and out of darkness, evoking a liquid space of night. Cloaked in dripping inks and bathed in subtle hues, the bodies depicted are sensuous but seemingly beyond reach, entangled with narratives of loss and desire.

Referencing the coral said to be formed by Medusa’s blood spilled upon seaweed, Teichmann’s work transforms one thing into another, sliding between autobiography, fiction and myth, still and moving image, sculpture and painting.The works form part of an ever-evolving archive, which is expanded and re-configured in various forms.

Storytelling plays a central role in Teichmann’s practice, exploring the relationship between image and language. This exhibition is accompanied by a written text, available in the gallery, and a filmic installation, Fulmine. Within this installation figures move towards one another with a languid urgency, promising an arrival that is never witnessed. Teichmann filmed canoeist Carlos Tapuy in the Amazon, travelling with him daily on his journeys in silent meditation. In a curtained boat-bed, dancer Sophia Wang moves in an auto–erotic continual motion as though underwater or in a dream. An original string quartet score composed by Deirdre Gribbin accompanies their journey.

On Sleeping and Drowning

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