• Chapter II: Skin


    Edel Assanti is pleased to present Host – a multi-chaptered online exhibition exploring the expansive topic of embodiment: the experience of navigating and perceiving the world from the perspective of a body. Reimagining a presentation of diverse artistic practices outside of a physical format, Host unfolds in three thematically distinct chapters, each accompanied by a Reading Room of additional materials.


    “The thickness of our flesh guarantees relations, while skin ensures that we can distinguish our experience from the other’s. Yet since flesh and skin are not objects but synergetic, we are never cut off from the other. The skin is a boundary, but a permeable boundary.”


    - The Visible and the Invisible, 2000, Maurice Merleau-Ponty


    Chapter II: Skin presents a series of works that unravel the conception of the embodied self as contained within an impermeable barrier, separating the individual subject from object and other.


    Whilst Host’s previous chapter addressed the entanglement of bodies and the environments they inhabit, Chapter II explores the skin as a permeable threshold – a succinct metaphor for a porous idea of human agency embracing an interdependence between self and other.





  • From 1975-88, MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ and the German artist ULAY performed together, dealing with relations of duality. Abramović and Ulay pioneered performance as a visual art form. Some of their most historic performances married concept with physicality, endurance with empathy, complicity with loss of control, passivity with danger. The body has always been both subject and medium. Exploring physical and mental limits in works that ritualise the simple actions of everyday life, they withstood pain, exhaustion and danger in her quest for emotional and spiritual transformation.

  • Marina Abramovic & Ulay, Relation in Space, 1976

        © Ulay; Courtesy of Richard Saltoun Gallery, London

    Marina Abramovic & Ulay

    Relation in Space, 1976
    Seven gelatin silver prints, together with a colophon page, all contained within a printed folder
    20 x 30 cm (image)
    7 7/8 x 11 3/4 in.
    40.6 x 30.2 cm (sheet)
    16 x 11 7/8 in.
    Edition of 30
    Click on the image to learn more about this work.
  • "Ulay and me, after meeting and beginning to work together, our first performance was, 'Relation In Space' in 1976 and was performed for the Venice Biennale. This idea of this piece was two naked bodies running and hitting each other frontally and increasing the speed for one hour. We really wanted to have this male and female energy put together and create something we called 'That Self'. It was very important to collaborate and to mix our ideas together and not ever say to anybody from whom the idea comes. It was the mixture that really made sense to us, and create that kind of third energy field."


    - Marina Abramović

  • Nour el Saleh, The Play That Goes On Forever, 2019

    Nour el Saleh

    The Play That Goes On Forever, 2019
    Watercolour, acrylic, ink, oil, pastel and charcoal on paper
    127 x 83 cm
    50 x 32 5/8 in.
    Click on the image to learn more about this work.
  • NOUR EL SALEH's dream-like works explore notions of place, belonging and selective/relative memory. Working instinctively, without creating studies, figures with exaggerated features appear out of the bodies of larger figures replicating and morphing on the canvas - interacting with the denizens of the artist’s selective conscious. By utilising theatrical references, masks and costumes, the characters in her stories probe conceptions of identity and place.

  • Nour el Saleh, In the Absence of a Chair, 2020

    Nour el Saleh

    In the Absence of a Chair, 2020
    Watercolour, acrylic, ink, oil, pastel and charcoal on paper
    127 x 83 cm
    50 x 32 5/8 in.


    Click on the image to learn more about this work.

  • “The concept of embodiment has always been at the forefront of my mind when making. In my work I aim to personify notions of being within one's own mind through the creation of a world that merges fantasy with reality. There, vague yet omnipresent bodies seduce and trick one another. These bodies allow me to explore and question both internal and external ideologies by placing myself and the viewer in a wider context that oscillates between the physical realm and the fantastic."


    - Nour El Saleh 'A short statement about my work at the moment, in relation to the show Host

  • JENKIN VAN ZYL is interested in the slippages between gender identities. Deliberately queering the macho history of violence, Van Zyl’s ecstatic cinematic fantasy is concerned with both reclaiming autonomy and the pleasure to be found in abandoning all control. On his practice he states: "I have an attraction to phenomena that reside on the borderline between paradise and hell-scape, and my films play humorously within the genre of horror. I believe that at its most potent horror can redistribute fixed ideas of the self, yielding a grotesque pleasure in the wake of its ability to obliterate. Horror can show us the simultaneous terror and joy of being torn apart: to have fun with what hurts you."

  • Jenkin van Zyl, Oblivion Industry, 2019

    Jenkin van Zyl

    Oblivion Industry, 2019

    2'10 minute video on infinite loop


    Click on the image to learn more about this work.

  • "With multiple outcomes of performance, installation and sculptural escapees, I set out to destabilise ideas of selfhood and bodily categories; rejecting binarisms of the real and virtual, front and back stage, self and other, style and content, and time and space. This, and the pressure point where notions of the original and the copy collapse, is encouraged in my films through the masked performer. During filming silicone masks facilitate improvisation; anonymising performers into a species of nearly-human/almost-monstrous genders. These characters are multiple, unstable, deviant - an aggregate of images and words that can be remixed and revised, and by the same token bring freedom."


    - Jenkin van Zyl

  • Mirosław Bałka, 260 x 9 x 9, 2019

    Mirosław Bałka

    260 x 9 x 9, 2019
    Steel and soap
    260 x 9 x 9 cm
    102 3/8 x 3 5/8 x 3 5/8 in.
    Photo © White Cube (Theo Christelis)
    Click on the image to learn more about this work.
  • In his soap works, MIROSŁAW BAŁKA brings together the sensory familiarity of his materials within the formal syntax of his minimal sculpture. The painstakingly assembled column of soap abstracts and sanctifies its individual parts, whilst also standing as a testament to the daily rituals that unite us all. At just under 3m tall, the height of the work is intended to reflect the limits of the human body (it is taller than the artist can reach) yet the soap-bars themselves are shaped by a profoundly levelling and corporeal human action; as the artist observes, we are washed as soon as we are born and washed after we die. In this way, Bałka's modest materials, selected for their resonance to his own childhood in Poland and Catholic upbringing, are transformed into conceptually loaded symbols of human existence.

  • Stephanie Temma Hier, Pitfall, 2021

    Stephanie Temma Hier

    Pitfall, 2021
    Oil on linen with glazed stoneware sculpture
    48.3 x 43.2 x 6.3 cm
    19 x 17 x 2 1/2 in.
    Click on the image to learn more about this work.
  • STEPHANIE TEMMA HIER’s hybrid sculptural paintings address the entanglement of human, animal and vegetal through intimate encounters with various forms of consumption. Bodily and capitalist systems are evoked with equal poignance as lenses through which to locate our relationship to the biological world. The boundary between interior and exterior of the work blurs, mirroring the transformative rupture between bodies that occurs when eating. Photorealist oil renderings of found imagery are ornamentally framed within clay depictions of objects and environments, suggesting a porous, reciprocal interplay between image, subject and perception.

  • Stephanie Temma Hier, Heart and Stomach of a King, 2020

    Stephanie Temma Hier

    Heart and Stomach of a King, 2020
    Oil on linen with glazed stoneware sculpture
    58.4 x 50.8 x 8.9 cm
    23 x 20 x 3 1/2 in.
    Click on the image to learn more about this work.
  • Lukas Hofmann, S.C.L. (Skin Come Leather), 2019

    Lukas Hofmann

    S.C.L. (Skin Come Leather), 2019
    Digital video
    22'25 min
    Click on the image to learn more about this work.
  • LUKAS HOFMANN looks at skin as a permeable border, at eczema and allergy as failures of hypersensitive immune systems, that can be freely transposed onto wider societal issues. Skin as a multi-layered metaphor and sphere becomes Hofmann’s zone for interaction, manipulation, (self)violation, sensation, or exploitation: both dividing the bodily self from the rest of the world, and providing access to it; a sphere of the most intimate contact, letting the environmental elements enter the body, holding the body together and yet being so vulnerable to outer powers.

  • Lukas Hofmann, Sospiri, 2019

    Lukas Hofmann

    Sospiri, 2019
    Digital video
    10'06 min
    Click on the image to learn more about this work.
  • "A mythical opera unfolds in six brief hallucinatory acts, to reveal visions of a troupe of youths in medieval dress, leaving bite marks on skin covered in petroleum jelly, exchanging units of breath and forming the links of a human perfume. With every action the air becomes denser, building towards its inevitable expiration."


    - Ari Nielsson, PAF Festival Olomouc

  • Joeun Kim Aatchim, Total Discomfort-Comfort (Hair/Heir), 2021

    All images courtesy of the artist.

    Joeun Kim Aatchim

    Total Discomfort-Comfort (Hair/Heir), 2021
    Mineral Pigment and ink on silk
    39.4 x 44.5 cm
    15 1/2 x 17 1/2 in.
    Click on the image to learn more about this work.
  • JOEUN KIM AATCHIM uses natural paints on Korean silk, the illusory quality of the work imitating the shimmer of memory and the space between what is seen and what is recalled.


    Returning to painting after corrective eye-surgery for strabismus in 2008, her negotiations with vision, reality and drawing have continued to become a metaphor for a kind of second sight, from which emerges a complex and multilayered image of the artist herself. While the layered compositions show the objects from multiple perspectives, they retain the clarity of something that has crystallised in one’s memory.

  • Joeun Kim Aatchim, Bail Mother Melancholy_Like the Sun during the Day, Like the Moon at Night, 2019

    All images courtesy of the artist.

    Joeun Kim Aatchim

    Bail Mother Melancholy_Like the Sun during the Day, Like the Moon at Night, 2019
    Mineral pigment on silk
    left: 28.6 x 25.4 cm; 11 1/4 x 10 in.
    right: 30.5 x 25.4 cm; 12 x 10 in.
    Click on the image to learn more about this work.
  • Saelia Aparicio, Plants on wall, 2020

    Saelia Aparicio

    Plants on wall, 2020
    Peroxide on salvaged fabric, black ink drawing, mouth blown glass rod and metal meat hooks
    163 x 92 cm
    64 1/8 x 36 1/4 in.
    Click on the image to learn more about this work.
  • SAELIA APARICIO's work focuses on the body as an organism of hybridity, whose internal and external features change with passing time. She sees the skin as a costume for what is inside of each person, but a costume that can age and disease and whose features can quickly become dysmorphic. Each of her exhibitions creates a new ecosystem of characters that drives us into the present, and invites her viewers to consider alternative futures. Aparicio uses these exhibitions to explore universal issues from invasive species and housing problems, to pollution and the climate crisis.

  • Saelia Aparicio, Prosthetic super abuela, 2019

    Saelia Aparicio

    Prosthetic super abuela, 2019 Epoxi resin, mouth blown glass, epoxi putty, prosthetics, polypropylene and grandma python shoe
    46 x 35 x 56 cm
    18 1/8 x 13 3/4 x 22 1/8 in.
  • "I don’t see the body as a source of horror but we’re living in a world that’s increasingly superficial and very related to the surface of the body. Things like fermentation and digestion are seen as gross and scary, but we all have this whole unknown world inside us that we don’t know and understand - I find that fascinating."


    - Saelia Aparicio



    Contact Us

  • Chapter III: Self will launch on 28 April. Visit Chapter I: Space here.