London-based visual artist Ze Aya studied Sculpture at Central Saint Martins, graduating in 2015. Her works broadly map seduction, fragility, and ultimately love and loss, as these relationships are played out and manipulated in on and offline social spheres. Running from 14 December 2019 – 18 January 2020, South London’s SEAGER hosts Far Away From You, Aya’s first solo show with the gallery. Aya’s painterly and sculptural language is often one marked by precision and control, where white glistening spaces are filled with fine lines, layered with a good dose of allure.
This meticulous crafting is somewhat reminiscent of those close-ups in car advertisements, when a camera slowly pans over the shiny metallic body. Ultimately, a car is just another armour for us to wear. We step into that extra layer of skin to roll through the day, as the passing outside world tends to associate the type of vehicle with corresponding personality traits. Language especially likes to link these to tropes of masculinity; there goes the muscle car, the van man, the boy racer.
Then there are these moments of slippage or spills. Reclaiming the space of performed virility, the hard exterior opens up to reveal moments of softness and vulnerability – perhaps even little outbursts of chaos or momentary losses of control. Bodily gestures of big swipes and firm presses disrupt the otherwise clinical surfaces, revealing a choreography. Highly tactile materials like wax, silicone and leather further allude to a soft being of flesh no longer present. Like the metallic car body, these visceral materials are otherwise found in, on or around beings as a form of protection from the outside world.
This then is a marriage between hard and soft, where texture and movement give birth to an amalgamated form that thrives on contrasts. Aya’s work forefronts disconnection and dissociation in our mental, physical and digital space. Sometimes moving fluidly between these realms and at times hitting barriers, her work is also an exploration of the self, echoing and living through changes in our current social climate. Finding a balance between aggression and delicacy, she hints towards the potential for symbolic and significant change.
Ze Aya. Far Away From You at SEAGER | 14 December 2019 – 18 January 2020 (Opening on Friday 13 December, 18.00 – 21.00)