Campoli Presti is pleased to present Escape from Blood Castle, Penny Goring's first exhibition with the gallery. A series of drawings, paintings, sculptures and videos respond to personal and universal traumas such as grief, violence, addiction, ageing, chronic pain and fear, increasingly exacerbated by the incessant expansion of economic relations into our private realm. The exhibition title evokes a 'solve it yourself' puzzle adventure book from the 80s and the impossibility to think our experiences outside capitalist terms.
Goring's drawings and paintings are based on autobiographical experiences yet referencing symbolist traditions within her own gloomy, girlish universe. Her Art Hell drawings expand on recurrent motifs such as malevolent landscapes, anthropomorphic flowers, scatalogical weeping and the double figure of Penny and Amelia, an ex-lover who died young from a heroin overdose. In her paintings, precision is key: flat backgrounds become fields of colour, trapping dismembered or distorted female figures at various stages of attempted escape.
Made with fabric and vintage thread, all sewn by hand, Goring's doll sculptures reference, amongst other things, children's imagery and our attachment to transitional objects. The dolls of Escape from Blood Castle are manifestly marked by their damage, amputation, and mending, referencing the body as a receptacle and target for trauma and suffering.
The poem Escape from Blood Castle continues Goring's raw, confrontational style, and operates as a marker for the exhibition itself. The juxtaposition between the text, the videos, the works’ titles and their reappearing motifs recall the arrangement of her works online, in which all her media perform without hierarchies, resisting strategy.
Goring’s work accesses recurring personal trauma visions, and by layering these with grief, anxiety, imagination and rage, the subsequent invented mythologies become explorations of the contemporary state of emergency—where violence is commonplace, structural, intimate, where loss of freedoms is forgotten or keenly lamented, and there is no rescue or escape.
Penny Goring (b. 1962, UK) lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions include Paint, Also Known as Blood, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, (2019); Screening of Monitor, Portikus, Frankfurt (2019); I, I, I, I, I, I, I, Kathy Acker, ICA, London (2019); Virginia Woolf, Tate St Ives, UK (2018); Prelude, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius (2017), (Enter – Greek chorus into the echo chamber), David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2017); Damaged Gods, Arcadia Missa, London (2016) and Video Installation and reading, South London Gallery, London (2016).
Press release courtesy Campoli Presti.