Katherine Fry
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

6 November - 5 December 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 an interior space and by the video frame, staging a separation between her and another surface. A quasi automaton, she appears barely alive, rarely displaying emotion or fatigue. The quiescence of her surface performance is ruptured by the force of her messy desire that presses for release against the too-neat container of her skin.

Desire to escape her physical limits pours out of her mouth as pearls in Did I get rid of it or are we just pretending not to notice?, as gravel in I would tell you everything but there’s no room and as startling vital fluids in After the transformation I was just the same. Desire must be sacrificed and shaped, pressed into the language, discipline and rule in Before her investiture, the novice must hear what she has to, learn what she has to, shape what she has to, say. The novice refuses her lesson but remains trapped by its rote. She seeks a decoy for her desire. Connecting herself to a table she attempts a merger with another body in You could have been anyone to me

A chorus singing of longing for binding and release permeates each video while the figure remains caught on an impossible threshold, 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 a lost home, a fantasy state of wholeness. She finds herself contained in the house of her skin, cast in a role she has no desire to perform. 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 staging of the videos plays 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 is a London-based artist working from performance into video. She recently completed 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).