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How can we chart a course to stretch the very fabric of texture, space, and desire itself? 

Blurring the lines between concept and aesthetics, D Contemporary is proud to present the group exhibition ‘ Softcore/Hardcore’, showcasing works of art that  abruptly confront you with your own sensitive side contrasted against your rough and raw animal instincts. Softcore / Hardcore approaches the idea aesthetically, thematically, and conceptually, simultaneously highlighting by blurring the line between the two featuring artworks that draw you in a soothing, erotic, and sensual way.

Curated by Jonathan Fakinos and featuring a group of both London-based and international artists whose themes traverse through tactile forms, corporeal intrinsic reactions, consumption, and illicit desire, the show reflects on attributes of artistic formalism and the sensualities that arise when forms follow ‘function’.  Through a series of sculptures, paintings, and installations, Softcore/Hardcore examines notions of haptic as an object of inquiry.  Generating a critical insight into emergent tactile economies and approaches surface as a specific set of material negotiations between bodies and sensibilities. 

The artwork of Florence Sweeney is both literally hard (being made of jesmonite) and soft (in appearance, alluring to a crumpled sheet after a fun night), although abstracted to remain vague, reminiscent of our obscured thoughts, while simultaneously actually representing synapses - the points of contact between neurons where information is passed from one neuron to the next, which could be considered the source of every thought whether Softcore or Hardcore.

‘Sausage Fest’ by Alexei Izmaylov, is a series of fun sculptures created in the general theme of ‘play’ which the artist explores throughout his practice.  Although there are many interpretations of the play, in the context of Softcore/Hardcore, it is impossible to ignore the phallic resemblance of these pieces.  They are sculpture plugs, a unique idea which through the need of interaction to install again reference ‘play’, alongside their fun pastel colours and contrasting soft silicone and hard plastic-like materials, which concurrently could reference children’s toys.

The majority of Marc-Aurele Debut’s body of work exhibited in ‘Softcore/Hardcore’ would firmly be placed in the latter end of the theme, with sculptures featuring leather, latex, and metallic spikes.  However, there is a sensitive nature in which they have been carefully and meticulously constructed, stitched, and conceptualised.  Whilst the hardcore appearance also reveals the sensitive nature of the creator, highlighting the contradiction of finding pleasure in pain.

Much like the sculpture by Igor Dobrowolski, from a new series of work, the delicately flowing form with two points almost touching on one end has a sensitivity that highlights his ‘feminine side’, with references from his ‘childlike side’ in the scribbles and scratches etched into the bronze and drawn on the concrete plinth.

The delicate paintings by Frida Wannerberger are created in a literally autobiographical manner, with titles that are created in the style of a page out of her journal.  Appearing innocent and filled with joy, they often reflect difficult times in her life, allured to only in discrete details within the paintings and journal entries of the titles.

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