Ruth Barker

If I Opened My Eyes I Might See Teeth

2007

 

Commentary on the work of Miranda Whall and Aron Tarjani, commissioned by Washington Garcia Gallery, Glagsow 

 

If I Open Your Eyes I Might See Teeth brings together work by London-based Hungarian artist Aron Tarjani and Cardiff-based Miranda Whall in a challenging exhibition that explores the significance of the sexual. Both artists engage with images that invite us to turn away as well as to look, in works that play upon the inappropriate, the uncomfortable, and the awkward.

In Room One, Tarjani’s ‘A Consuming Experience’ seems to gloat over an implicit sexual violence in the breaking and devouring of a single oyster, filmed in glutinous, gluttonous detail. The sound is sharp, grating and visceral, setting teeth on edge and pricking the hairs on the viewer’s nape in reflex. Tarjani states that “Ultimately it [the oyster] is the victim; the sacrificial object that, in a ritualistic cycle, localises violence.” His comparison parallels the sexual with the ritual, describing the mechanised, displaced qualities of both desire and consecration.

Whall’s ‘Love Songs’ in Room Two are watercolour animations featuring self-portraits of the artist masturbating and juxtaposed with another presence (a cat, fish, etc). The figures are dislocated from one another as each perpetually repeats a series of movements that are performed without either impact or climax. In contrast to Tarjani, Whall’s work relies on embarrassment and humour rather than horror to explore pathos in the relentless, detached pursuit of connection. These portraits of the isolated artist, she says: “expose and exaggerate the seemingly irreconcilable differences and lack of empathy that exists between the artist/human and the world that she/we inhabit.” The individual preoccupation of her figures emphasises their plight.