Bodies of Love

An exhibition with Kat Cutler-MacKenzie and Ben Caro, gr_und Berlin February 2023

In our current world of crisis and conflicts, with increased individualism and intense consumption, love in the 21st century is seriously threatened and regularly challenged…seismic sociological changes concerning sexuality, marriage and intimacy, alongside developments in gender issues, [have] affected the way we conceive of love.

Rachael Gilbourne, ‘What We Call Love’, 2016

The body is and has been a highly coded and contested site of political debate. When intersected with contemporary notions of love – which range from the romantic to the patriotic, and intertwine with the associated issues of marriage, family, sexuality, gender, desire… – the site of the body is further complicated. In Bodies of Love the artists seek to develop a visual vocabulary with which to open up contemporary, intersectional conceptions of love that take into account the politicized nature of this phenomenon. The artists explore how, in the current Euro-American context, sociological changes have impacted the ways in which love is understood, and ask whether (and if so, how) artistic interventions can help to build a vocabulary around this shifting, ‘intangible’ act or emotion beyond its traditional stance. As bell hooks writes in all about love, “as a society we are embarrassed by love…without a supple vocabulary, we can’t even talk or think about it directly”. In this exhibition the artists pose an exploratory and fragmentary insight into contemporary notions of love through Muriel Lisk-McIntyre’s sound based installation Its tradition, we Love it! and Ben Caro and Kat Cutler-MacKenzie’s 35mm slide installation feeling looking.

Following a traditional methodology of love, Lisk-McIntyre explores personal relationships of love that are transmitted in the domestic setting. Its tradition, we Love it! is a dining room set, where a conversation on and about love is staged. It is the centerpiece and conversation piece between four women. The aim and questions brought to the table: to attempt to deconstruct and question the ways in which these women show and share love. While considering that the dining table – understood in this work as the center of the home – is an environment in which tradition, behaviors and education about love are passed on from generation to generation. The artist is asking why, on another level, are there still traditional methods of love that ‘we love’, maintain and reproduce to this day? Even though these methods are written in tradition from a patriarchal stance, Lisk McIntyre uses the premise of a matriarchal space to rethink these traditions. Through a series of objects chosen by the artist for their proximity to traditional objects of love, conversations will pour out onto the dining table. and reconsiders the home as the primary school of Love (to be nuanced). As our mothers and grandmothers see new rights passed, then rescind back, Lisk-McIntyre seeks to explore whether love challenges notions of ‘social progress’ or disrupts notions of linear time.