Why Don’t You Dance? Slade Postgraduate Show | Exhibition

January 22 – February 11, 2022

ASC Gallery | The Chaplin Centre, London, SE17 2DG

Opening Friday, January 21, 6-9pm

Why Don’t You Dance?
New Work by Final Year Slade Postgraduates

A group exhibition of new work by final year Slade postgraduate students organized by Sophie L. Knight and Emily Mannion. Juried with the help of artist Adam Gibney.

“In the kitchen, he poured another drink and looked at the bedroom suite in his front yard. The mattress was stripped and the candy-striped sheets lay beside two pillows on the chiffonier. Except for that, things looked much the way they had in the bedroom—nightstand and reading lamp on his side of the bed, nightstand and reading lamp on her side.
His side, her side.
He considered this as he sipped the whiskey.”

– Why Don’t You Dance? by Raymond Carver

Raymond Carver wrote short stories that seem to be absent of story. In Why Don’t You Dance he offers us a vignette with
little context, or backstory. The reader is dropped into an environment that feels familiar, banal even, then tweaks it just enough so that it crosses into the terrain of the uncanny. In this short story, the protagonist has emptied the entire contents of his home out onto his garden, everything is where it
should be, bed beside nightstand, tv in front of sofa… “everything was connected. Things worked, no different from how it was when they were inside”. We know of a woman, his wife perhaps, who is no longer around. Objects exist within their functional frame of reference, yet at a remove. A pair of teenage lovers arrive, get drunk, play records, dance, buy some of his belongings and then depart.

Why Don’t You Dance? brings together final year Slade students across all departments and disciplines to respond to Carver’s short story, creating a mixed media exploration of the text. Working across textile, painting, photography, film and sculpture all artists grapple, in their own way, with the eerie world Carver opens up for us. These artists present at times an intimate portrait of loss, chance encounters, the notion of home, and the objects that exist within it. The interconnectedness of people, of things, and our attempts and at times failures to make those connections. Why don’t you dance, is taken from his seminal collection of short stories titled “What we Talk about when we talk about Love”. A meditation on love, loss and the oddness that exists in the everyday.

Showing works by Gillies Adamson Semple, Remi Ajani, Maggie Barrett, Adam Boyd, Anna Choutova, Kainoa Gruspe, Ed Haslam, Yifan He, Jay Hur, Sophie L. Knight, Or Lapid, Emily Mannion, Andras Nagy-Sandor, Phoebe Ridgway, Jose Sarmiento, Zhongyao Su, Yun-Ju Tsai, Chengwei Xia.

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