Valentina Pini – Tonic Immobility


Valentina Pini
Tonic Immobility
20 May – 23 June 2017
Curated by Rice + Toye

Tonic immobility is a state in which some animals become temporarily paralysed and unresponsive to external stimuli. In most cases, this occurs in response to an extreme threat such as being captured by a perceived predator. ‘Sluggardising’, a verb coined by the writer Robert Walser, defines a state of being active in a state of passivity – alive and well within an inactive, protective husk.  Activities such as dreaming, staring at the ceiling, and making the most of the comfort provided by a warm bed, have been misinterpreted and stereotyped as hallmarks of feckless laziness. In fact they can be employed to provoke incidental thinking and develop the foundations of a creative process. This ability to relax, which actually improves our capacity to work, is a dominant paradox of our time: Online relaxation technique videos, youtube insomnia cures, ASMR videos and iPhone applications to help us to reduce our Internet addiction are becoming more and more popular. This is the central theme for Valentine Pini’s forthcoming installation at Deptford X.

The long gallery will become an image of this mutable pace for zen: A number of deckchairs will line the space, inviting viewers to sit on their fragile marbled surface. Beside them will stand lamp-like pillars of plaster – their porous texture giving way to pigment, resembling the thick smoke of incense sticks. Adapted goggles will rest on the deckchairs, blinking a hypnotic stimulation. This is not intended to be a space for zoning out, for passive, escapist aesthetic bewilderment. Rather, like a charging bay, it is imagined as a zone for intense medication, to maximise productivity, for active passivity: peak sluggardising.

Pini will explore the nature of the gallery by blocking out part of the windows. This glass façade is one of the key features of the 22ft vitrine-like space and the primary ways to see the work in the space. By using office curtains Pini will draw attention to the public and private contexts of the space and the privilege to have a space to meditate and cultivate creativity.

Opening event: Friday 19th May, 6-9pm.

Valentina Pini lives and works in London and Zurich. Recent exhibitions include Twist Twist, with Aloïs Godinat at Le Labo, Geneva 2017; I don’t wanna Curate anymore, I just wanna accumulate content, Chalton Gallery, group show London 2016; Dimensione disegno. Posizioni contemporanee, group show, Museo Villa dei Cedri, Bellinzona Switzerland 2016; Pause Patina, group show, Camden Arts Centre, London 2015; N2, group show, Platform Gallery , London 2015; Catch of the years 2014, Dienstgebäude, group show, Zürich 2014; The Chase, group show, La Rada, Locarno 2014; Bourses Berthoud, Lissignol-Chevallier et Galland, group show, CAC, Geneva 2013.

Rice + Toye is a curatorial project for nice people, by nice people, supported by the kindest of patrons: Cook Rice and Kitty Toye. Founded in 2014, Rice + Toye began as a project space in Bermondsey, London, that invited emerging artists to exhibit or experiment with new work. The aim was to enable artists to test and venture within their practice by offering an open and humble space. From November 2015 until September 2016 Rice + Toye were guests at The Society Club in Soho, London. THE DOOR, is a small space; a snug and cosy place; it is the entrance to a house in Soho that no longer opens; it is a ground-floor vitrine that never closes; it is a centre for broadcast in the heart of the city; it is a way in and out of the world; a way to welcome, new and old, friends and family. Organised by: Antonio de la Hera, Owen Lacey & Emma Enderby

Supported by the Swiss Cultural Fund UK