AS IF EVER A WAVE HAS REACHED THE SHORE: Roey Victoria Heifetz, Wura Natasha Ogunji, Françoise Pétrovitch, Nil and Karin Romano, Lionel Sabatté, Jean Luc Verna and Jorinde Voigt - Curated by Jan-Philipp Frühsorge

9 June - 15 July 2023 London

Private View: Thursday 8th June 2023  6-8pm London (Wandsworth) 


Midnight. Sleepless. Watching an old Film by Jean Luc Godard. There is this one scene in which the heroine, played by Marina Vlady, who we have followed over the course of the narration is entering into a Parisian cafe.Then …a whispering voice-over, it’s him, Godard himself, he who apparently knew everything about cinema, but also never ceased to believe that cinema  and life need each other to exist, to nurture, to infiltrate, to enlighten. So Godard, like speaking in a ghostly inner monologue draws us inside his head while watching the protagonists of his film contemplating.


"But first of all, what is an object? Maybe an object is what serves as a link between subjects, allowing us to live in society, to be together. But since social relations are always ambiguous, since my thoughts divide as much as unite, and my words unite by what they express and isolate by what they omit, since a wide gulf separates my subjective certainty of myself from the objective truth others have of me, since I constantly ended up feeling guilty, even though I feel innocent, since every event changes my daily life, since I always fail to communicate, to understand, to love and be loved, and every failure deepens my solitude, since. I cannot escape the objectivity crushing me, nor the subjectivity expelling me, since I cannot rise to a state of being nor collapse into nothingness... I have to listen, more than ever I have to look around me, at the world, my fellow creature, my brother.

                                                                           JEAN-LUC GODARD, 

                                                                 Deux ou trois choses que je sais d’elle, 1967

„Mon semblable, mon frere“, this is what the director quotes from Baudelaire’s preface to the „Fleurs du Mal“ and so does T.S. Eliot in his master poem „Waste land“. It seems the three of them send an exclamation mark to their readers, viewers, addressing the eternal truth: that there is „the other“ - as the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas has put it, that shall be reached and touched…. but how?


This exhibition is asking the same question by gathering international artists from Nigeria, Israel, Germany and France whose works are dealing with various forms of representations of the body, with language, with desire and the multifaceted interconnected ways we exist socially.

Often there seems an invisible membrane between the work and the audience. Some thin veil that separates us  - from the other (the other human/ and from the work) even though desire and logic tell us that we are close to them. Drawing especially is a medium that has the ability to evoke and create intimacy, to invite people to share a precious moment of fragility and intensity.Paper itself can be seen as an equivalent to the human skin, a delicate surface that breathes and manifests our connection to the world. Through images of the body we encounter ourselves as we encounter the other in all complex fluidity and shocking and beautiful presence and in ambiguity and doubt. The exhibition follows those depictions and rises the question: what happens in true human encounters?


Jorinde Voigt, whose work is situated in the energetic field between the body in perception of itself and its environment, language and the signifier with all its ambiguity takes here a text by sociologist Niklas Lumann, to contemplate his reflections on the semantics of love and passion. Her drawing is an intellectual playground that becomes a map and a diagram of experience. The paradoxes and limitations of scientific recordings are confronted with Voigt questioning how mental images are being evoked and become reality.


Lionel Sabatte has been dealing with notions of the ephemeral and the physical remains of our very existence. Transformation processes and alchemy seem to be his guiding principles over the last years.His portrait drawings of anonymous faces are literally made out of dust that he collects in the Metro stations of Paris. And his beautiful and delicate Bonsai plants carry blossoms of human skin.This tactility of vanity is a gentle call to look at the overlooked and the discarted particals of life. 


Roey Victoria Heifetz is a transgender woman, her often large scale drawings depict women that seem both - another person and an older version  of herself. Thereby addressing not only the question of the gender transition and the emotional and psychological implications of such a journey but also of the prospect of age. The artist is mercilessly interrogating herself and her vision of the body that she desires. the paper carries all traces of those gestures that seem to peel off the skin to reveal a deeper truth. 


Jean-Luc Verna- is lightfootedly dancing between various disciplines in his practice, from drawing, to performance from sculpture to photography. His body is taking an intensely particular role in everything as it is in some ways the sculpted and painted (tatooed) extension of that practice. Verna is celebrating the deepest bonds to those family members of his a self chosen cosmos, among which the singers Nico and Siouxie are constant sources of inspiration. Their lives and music is the echo-chamber in which the suffering and praised bodies, the romantic landscapes and other overlooked subjects art history resonate together.


Nil and Karin Romano, are closely connected since their birth as identical twins. They live and work together. Being self taught as artists they have developed a unique language that merges a deep desire for dense ornamental pattern and repetitive structures with scenes of an inner world that is infused by a sentiment that Rilke once put in famous words:„For Beauty is nothing other than the beginning of a terror which we can only just bear, and we admire it so, because it calmly disdains to destroy us.  Each and every angel is terrible“.


Wura Ogunji is a visual artist and performer. Both the delicate tracing paper and the thread let us encounter the fragility and subtle tactility of a gentle gesture. „Me as him, imagined sunset“, the title of one the drawings already points towards the notion of empathy and the power of imagination to transcend the existing void between our bodies.


Francoise Petrovitch’s series of drawings of Saint Sebastian based on old master paintings shifts the perspective: her images of the tormented male body focuses on that part where the arrows entered the flesh, between his head and his sex, a torso of black liquid ink- in the dialectical pathos formula of pain and ectasy. Sebastian, the martyr, was tortured to be immortalised in beauty. A violent touch of transformation that reminds us of the pain that is transcending the separation of the individual. Noli me tangere, but if you do there is chance to  pierce through that void, that membrane of distance.