Some Domestic Incidents is an exhibition of new painting from Britain by seven emerging and mid-career artists that has been developed in partnership between MAC Birmingham and the Prague Biennale 5, where a version of the exhibition was presented from 19 May to 11 September 2011. For MAC Birmingham, the artists are presenting new and additional works to those on display in Prague. The exhibition has been curated by Matt Price with assistance from Charlie Levine, and has been supported by Arts Council England West Midlands.
Through the work of these seven artists, the exhibition explores themes of domesticity and how normal relationships with the places in which we live can be affected. For most people in the developed world, most of the time, home is a place in which to be at ease. It is a site of sanctuary from the world outside, for everyday activities such as sleeping, cooking a meal, reading, watching TV or raising a family. While many of us are fortunate to live in houses and apartments where we are happy and can relax, we all experience things in our homes that adversely affect our physical, psychological and emotional relationships with the places in which we live. This might be a burglary, the death of a loved one, an accident, illness, ageing or a visit from the bailiffs. For others, home is a place that is constantly oppressive and filled with melancholy, loneliness or misery – a site of entrapment, discomfort or abuse.
Whether a discarded soft toy, a knife on a sideboard, an empty chair or a pair of rubber gloves, the works in this exhibition present objects and scenarios that open up narrative possibilities about the things that take place in and around people’s homes. A party in a suburban backyard, two women in a bathroom, an elderly gentleman in his garden by night, and a man who seems to have set up home in a disused office – these are some of the characters that invite us to consider the ways in which people interact with domestic spaces and the lives that we lead at home.
Anna M R Freeman