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The exhibition borrows its title from modernist writer Nathalie Sarraute’s 1939 novel. These experimental short stories are populated by anonymous characters, objects and unremarkable events. They are the tools she uses to make us aware of the instinctive and subconscious nature of response that develops in us and rapidly passes through us. In focusing on these instinctual movements and sensations that hide behind our normal gestures, words and daily routines she reveals ‘the dynamics at play between our thoughts and actions beneath the veneer of social convention.’

Tropisms are the biological responses or movements of plants and organisms prompted by external stimuli; a fitting frame for Sarraute’s work, and perhaps a lens through which to approach the pieces in this exhibition. Formal paintings are hung together with more experimental forms; composite board and canvas, silicone, trolley wheels, concrete and steel bar combine to become hybridised painting objects, unsure of their identity or narrative capacity but characters acting as props for containment or poised ready for animation. The painting, the object and the hybrid fold into one another again and again making a feedback loop between what is abstract [or of spirit] and what is physical [or of matter].

The presentation here will mark the beginning of a new project to produce an artist’s book. Taking the idea of tropisms it will invite contributions from cross disciplinary thinkers and individuals in fields such as physics, architecture and anthropology. Within the format of a book these disciplines can be placed side by side in order to examine how their modes of working and material explorations coincide with art practice. The goal here is to give a space to collectively imagine how these relationships can be useful in thinking about new and diverse sense making models for the future. 

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