THE HEART HAS MANY ROOMS
Everard Read Gallery
‘You are both present and undefined. Whenever I think of you, I am always other than myself.’
Bernard Living, Untitled Text, 1995
Everard Read’s CIRCA Gallery is divided into two floors, separated and supported, one above the other. Sanell Aggenbach’s The Heart Has Many Rooms offers a quiet meditation on affection: actual and implied. The body of work is divided into two distinct areas of interest and both probe the complexities of endearment.
The lower floor consists of monochromatic paintings, her primary medium as art maker. The paintings are of an intimate nature, rendered in soft folds of over and under-exposed personal photographic references. These are tender studies in intimacy where some images are painted on canvas shaped as folded fabric. New large paintings of unmade bed linen serve as a form of abstract eroticism, contour-like shapes of the rises and valleys seen from an aerial-view, not unlike those of the restless lines of maps.
Aggenbach’s paintings are seldom lucid, but rather obscured and concealed by either dark blue hues, or sapped of detail and lost in the brightness of bleached ivory white. Thematically these folds reference a clue to the work upstairs, a re-interpretation of Michelangelo’s Pietà by echoing the drapes of Mary’s tunic, Christ’s pale flesh and the composition of forms. The original carved from marble.
Madre Pietà (2019) offers a more playful reimagining of Michelangelo’s original: the Madonna and Child replaced by two plush toys cast in bronze. The sculpture stands two-metres tall; it’s hard, polished surface coloured in deep warm tones.
Separated over two floors, The Heart Has Many Rooms traverses the artist’s affections - above, the devotion of mother and child; below, the private affairs of the heart. Vivid bronze tones versus deep blue hues below. For every room its colour, for every love.