Edward Chell Common Ground
Katharine Fry   Please call me home
Katharine Fry, I would tell you everything but there's no room, 2016

Katharine Fry   I would tell you everything but there's no room  Digital video still  2016

Private view: Friday 27 March  6 - 9pm
28 March - 25 April 2020

For Katharine Fry’s first solo show at the gallery, Please call me home, the artist transforms the intimate space into a series of unsettling encounters with uncanny screen bodies. Each video reveals the same female figure contained by both an interior space and the video frame, staging the separation between her and another surface.

A quasi automaton she appears barely alive, rarely displaying emotion or fatigue, her vitality registered only through the limited gestures she performs with her mouth. Desire to escape her physical limits pours out of her mouth as liquids, gravel or pearls. She marks her anxious need to confirm herself, to maintain her limits, by blocking her mouth with furniture. Connecting herself to furniture through her mouth, she attempts to merge with another body, collapsing the distinction between figure, object and background. Though she creates a co-dependent system with a table-minus-one-leg, she is not the table, nor part of the table. She remains bound to the table but distinctly separate from it. A chorus singing of longing for binding and release permeates each video while the figure remains caught in an impossible threshold between separation and connection, her desire trapped under the house arrest of her surface boundary.

House arrest tells the story of desire. It begins with the figure’s separation from an originary home of wholeness. She finds herself contained in the house of her skin, performing a role she has no desire to be cast in. Her only desire is for her lost home, but her way back is barred. She moves from object to object, looking for merger, looking for home. Her desire wants to escape the confines of her boundaried body, to eradicate her body. As a body, she can only remain separate.

This separation persists in the video installations, each playing out as an intimate confrontation where the viewer is invited to perform a particular physical proximity. However, the surface of the video stages another separating skin and a missed encounter. Figure and viewer are protected and isolated by the obstructing surface. Neither can threaten or penetrate the boundary of the other, but neither can nourish the other. A gap persists in which a desire to meet emerges in tandem with a fear of engulfment. There is no meeting. A vertigo is set in motion, a loss without a restoration.

Katharine Fry (British, b. Belgium 1981) is a London-based artist working from performance into video. She recently completed a practice-based PhD House Arrest at Goldsmiths. She exhibits nationally and internationally, including: Ann Arbor Film Festival, Michigan, USA (2019); Visions in the Nunnery, London (2018); Terror Has No Shape, Camden Arts Centre, London (2018), Alchemy Film Festival, Hawick, Scotland (2018), Oriel Davies Open, Newtown, Wales, (2018); and The Modern Language Experiment, Folkestone Triennial (2017). Recent prizes include: Hauser & Wirth First Prize and Soho House Mentoring Prize for Black Swan Open (2018) and First Prize for Creekside Open (2017).