April 23 - May 2
Soft opening 23rd April 2-7pm
In The Poetics of Space (1957), philosopher and poet Gaston Bachelard borrows Baudelaire’s expression of ‘paresse féconde’ (fertile laziness), to describe the inner spaces of reverie and meditation, and the dynamics at play between dreams and thoughts.1 He develops this exercise to learn new ways of inhabiting domestic spaces, drawing from the energy and imagination of daydreaming during moments of solitude and boredom.
It is telling that the premises of the group exhibition called Fertile Laziness originated in the midst of the pandemic. At a time when forced self-isolation became the new norm, and as most of us feel digitally exhausted, passively witnessing their social media communities’ achievements – from bread baking to yoga performances – the concept of ‘fertile laziness’ offers us a way out. It acts as a counterpoint from our quasi-religious logic of time management and control, and our instinct to turn idleness into productivity. Usually considered as a denial or an escape from the experience of the present, daydreaming is in fact an act of resistance within our modern conception of time — a refusal to seize the moment.
Boredom, as Elizabeth S. Goostein puts it, “is an encounter with the limits of language (...) a confrontation with nothing.”2 So, we could ask, what happens if we all aim for that empty feeling? What if, for just a moment, we would bear down and focus, relax and retrieve?
Fertile Laziness, curated by artists Solanne Bernard and Camilla Bliss, takes laziness with its potential slippage towards boredom, procrastination, lethargy and flemme, as resourceful methods to construct fantasies. Including new works in various media, the exhibition results from a collective slacking off, a step back from clarity. The fourteen artists deconstructed space and left rationality to develop surreal and hazy images where one could find a pink swan in agony, a dismantled hand, an abandoned octopus tentacle, or a frightened leaf attacked by a man. These uninhibited narratives, embodied in our senses, organs and muscles, originate from a pre-rationale state deep-rooted within our bodies’ natural rhythms.
Opening on the 23rd of April 2021 at Platform Southwark, Fertile Laziness brings us towards new forms of attention and calls for an affective and image-led relation to the world in the hope to revive us from our post-confinement collective numbness.
Text written by Angela Blanc
1 Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, (London: Penguin Classics, 2014), p. 3.
2 Elizabeth S. Goodstein, Experience Without Qualities: Boredom and Modernity (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005), p. 2.
© Photographs by Raphael Bliss
© Poster by Lara Vallance