Touch me not

2016 September 28th – November 4th: > Touch me not
@ Goldsmiths Textile Collection & the Constance Howard Gallery, London.

: Press release
‘Touch me not’­The Skin Ego (1989), Didier Anzieu

It is a great pleasure to announce the 2016 winner of the Christine Risley Award as BA (Hons) Fine Art graduate, Louise Madsen.

In the words of guest judge, Jennifer Harris (Deputy Director, the Whitworth, Manchester), ‘her sculptural pieces demonstrate a profound material sensibility that aligns them with the kind of work that is being produced as part of the “material turn” that so much international art has taken in recent years’.

Madsen’s work on exhibition at the Constance Howard Gallery is a collection of experimental pieces that demonstrate an investigative approach to how we encounter objects. Working with materials that shift, melt, cut, harden, spread and absorb, Madsen explores surfaces of internal and external change. Her seductive combinations of often disparate materials subvert their own haptic qualities in a way that is at once alluring and destabalising.

‘It is most often the materials’ qualities of being too familiar giving way to the them becoming increasingly odd or even alien as I focus on them, that attracts, puzzles and provides me with a nervous energy’ (Louise Madsen).

The use of salt and sugar is reoccurring in Madsen’s work. She is drawn to them as materials that defy boundaries in their appearance both inside and outside the body and their simultaneous necessity for survival and potential toxicity. She appropriates them into her sculptural language, transforming their material qualities into something quite different from the domestic substances that we know. For the exhibition at the Constance Howard Gallery, Madsen will create a new work on site, engaging with the structure of the space through an installation of Sellotape and salt.

In making her candy-coloured merino wool domes, the artist sculpts with a lightness of touch that allows for their ethereal existence. Resisting the need to bind the fibres in a traditional felting process, she taps into what she describes as the ‘unsettled nature of objects’ and alludes to a freedom of existence that ‘does not necessarily lead to exclusion or inclusion but places …my objects outside both – somewhat separate, to be easily accepted and embraced but also dismissed’ (Louise Madsen).

With an approach to making and materiality that is both embedded in the tactile whilst resisting any tendency to be ‘pinned down’, Madsen is developing a rich language which resonates with a long history of material expression and what Jennifer Harris refers to as ‘the productive indeterminacy of contemporary art textiles’.

The Christine Risley Award is an annual cash prize awarded by the Goldsmiths Textile Collection & the Constance Howard Gallery to a graduating Goldsmiths BA student for outstanding work relating to textiles, in memory of Christine Risley.

Goldsmiths Textile Collection & Constance Howard Gallery
> Textile Collection website