HOME is pleased to present Safe – a major new group exhibition taking Todd Haynes’ seminal film as
Starting point for a series of new commissions in moving image, sculpture, print, writing and performance.
Safe shows Carol’s slow decline as she becomes increasingly allergic to everyday
domestic products and routine activities, eventually moving to an enclosed community
in New Mexico. Set in 1987, the film can be seen as an oblique response to the AIDS
epidemic. A critique of patriarchy and a reflection upon the appeal of self-help gurus
and communities – the themes of the film are as relevant now as they were then.
Ambiguous and refusing a straight-forward reading, this understated sci-fi allows
considers social etiquettes, invisible labour, symptom and cure, infection, and the
conflation of the psychological and the physical.
Claire Makhlouf Carter’s performance events and interventions take place in art
openings, seminar rooms, conferences, and off-site spaces, and have featured sniffer
dogs, presenters, military mercenaries, fairground workers, mafrish owners, forensic
psycho-physiologists, and carpet pickers. Often employing temporary workers, a
concern with drawing out the internalised and embodied complexities of social and
institutional relations runs throughout Carter’s work.
Chris Paul Daniels is producing a new installation – part institutional critique, part self-help
guide, this new audio work questions the expectations of the gallery space to deliver
a transformative experience. The work also has a soundtrack by Manchester-based
electronic music producer Graham Massey (808 State, Biting Tongues).
Yoshua Okón will present a new digital film installation – The Art of Living – developed
from a series of scripted scenarios taking place in show homes in Greater Manchester.
Co-written with curator Sarah Perks, a series of incidents inspired by the script of Safe
explore the physical and psychological disintegration of the suburban dream.
James Richards’ new commission has just completed principle photography in Berlin;
shot on 16mm, James is directing a series of portraits that will form the basis of an
installation featuring unnerving prosthetic mutilations. Combining still life, archive
footage and original imagery, the works’ references range from Giuseppe Arcimboldo
to Sharon Lockhart.
Camilla Wills’ new installation for Safe will develop her engagement with the act of
printing, which becomes a space for interrogating the processes of spread,
permeability, diffusion and new meaning. Her work in print, installation, moving image
and text considers gendered moments of infection and contact, conviction and hope,
through readings of theory, art and medical histories.
Safe will also include a sculptural installation and new moving image work by Laura
Morrison, referencing an outside narrative and telling a story that is not quite hers
through found photography, Google maps and the publishing of email exchanges.
Probing the ethics of social encounters – expectations and assumptions – in an online
environment, Morrison questions the line between the public and private, the friendly
In addition, the exhibition will also present Sunil Gupta’s photo-series Pretended Family
Relationships (1988), a work responding to Clause 28 which forbade the representation
of homosexual relationships; an installation of Michael Dean’s concrete objects – silent
works that disrupt the legibility of language and form; and sculpture by Jala Wahid,
pushing material hierarchies with her seductive visceral practice.
Sarah Perks comments: “This exhibition encompasses what HOME is all about, bringing
together a diverse set of artists from around the world, with new contemporary
commissions, to debate – in an accessible and meaningful way – aspects of our current
climate. Carol White is a central figure that acts as an alibi for us to actually talk openly
about how we might be allergic to the 21st century. Whether we identify with her
character or not, we are confronted with our own fears and prejudice.”
Louise O’Hare adds: “We’ve been talking a lot about the film as a critique of the
alienation produced by consumer culture and discussing how it sat as this painfully silent
response to the AIDS epidemic – the belated heterosexual response to the crisis, as well
as the looming threat of climate change which permeates the film. In some of the
original trailers Safe comes across as this body horror show – and that’s right too. You
can see it as a sci-fi, a satire. Its continued resonance – in terms of invisible work, the way
society deals with the diseased or fragile body, environmental trauma, and feminism –
made it a rich starting point for the exhibition and book.”
New publication title: Transactions of Desire: Are you allergic to the 21st century, edited
by Louise O’Hare and Sarah Perks, will feature new work for the page by the artists
included in Safe and others including Hannah Black, Sarah Harrison, Peter Kingstone
and John Walter.
Taking the form of a self-help book, and reflecting on dialogue used in the film Are you
allergic to the 21st century will reflect upon the forms, languages motivations and
yearnings of commodified self-help culture. Artists and writers are concerned with the
problematics of legitimacy, patriarchal structures, embodied knowledge and
autodidacts, invisible labour, the space between device and user, self-love and
alienation, and recent critiques of white feminism.
Special thanks to adviser Omar Kholeif, Senior Visiting Curator at HOME.