Deep Skin is a group exhibition in a particle physics research laboratory that is 2100 metres underground called SNOlab. SNOlab is protected by being underground so that greatly sensitive experiments can go on undeterred by the cosmic rays of natural light and the background radiation of air. Participating artists include Pakui Hardware, Agatha Valkyrie Ice,* Bitsy Knox + Christian Tonner, Visualize→Actualize, Antoine Renard, and TROI OI (Nhu Duong + Sung Tieu)
Visiting Deep Skin and SNOlab can result in experiencing vertigo and severe ear pain. It is nice that art is residing in such a place protected, distant and on the interior of something. The context runs deep -of course it does -to protect the particles: highly clean, no dust, some things vacuum packed: like the hair in Paul Barsch’s work ‘BIOBCI-CARRIER’.
Organisers, Berlin-based Canadian artists Grégoire Blunt and Emmy Skensved who previously curated shows: eStamina and 2nd Skin have also made pieces for the show as well as documenting it. All images are courtesy SNOlab and depict the art works/particles hand-held in close proximity to what presumably is already being used in the lab. ‘LINDA’ (2015) by Agatha Valkyrie Ice, a spray bottle with its name on and white foam escaping slightly out of the gap between the top and the body sits in a small seat with more foam having gently escaped around its base.
Martin Kohout’s ‘SKINSMOOTH VER.(s)’ are versions of clear gloves filled with a wet but hard material inside clear bags folded in various manners around the space. They are not quite hands and it makes it creepy. ‘SHE, A SKELETON’ (2015) by Dorota Gaweda + Egle Kulbokakaite is a silvery enticing object that looks like a fossil and, although it has no face or head, has a backbone and a recognisably amphibian tale. It sits on a much shinier piece of metal. Another piece of hand-held documentation is an image of someone applying on an iPad for a Guinness World Record for the ‘Deepest Underground Art Exhibition in History’. As part of Gaweda and Kulbokaite’s ‘SHE, A SKELETON’ a piece of writing dismantles and remakes an interior inside or elsewhere, like “working towards the seabed, following the steady pace of the sleeping animals”. The words are displayed on a small screen, held by a person and photographed, sealed in the image.
Deep Skin will be underground for one year from August 14, 2015, to August 14, 2016, protected by and co-existing in SNOlab. It pulls on memory and the preserving power of reminders. It pulls on that which is too clean and precious to be touched – or to touch back – but close enough to remember deeply. In six months time maybe you might think about the sea bed, or dry hair and think about them all down there. **
Exhibition photos, top right.
Header image: Anna Sagström, GLOBAL ROUNDUP, ROUNDUP® (GYPHOSAT, GERBIZID) (2015) Install view. Courtesy SNOlab.
*Clemence de La Tour du Pin, Dorota Gaweda and Egle Kulbokaite.