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17 Jul 2011

Mrs. Darling's Kiss at Arch 402, London

Mrs. Darling's Kiss
Arch 402


A group exhibition incorporating sculpture, print, painting, film and an artist-made outdoor cinema
8 July 2011 – 5 August 2011

Jennie Moran
0044 20 7043 2027

Arch 402
Cremer Street
London E2 8HD

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Mrs. Darling's Kiss

Works by: Joan Ashworth, Louise Bourgeois, Steve Bunn, Tom Chamberlain, Stephen Chambers, Denise de Cordova, Kate Davis & David Moore, Dexter Dymoke, Jonas Grimas, Jane Harris, Tim Long, Rosa Loy, Lee Maelzer, Nicholas Pankhurst, Kate Rowles, Fiona Shaw and Mike Taylor.

On 7th July, Arch 402 Gallery presents Mrs. Darling's Kiss, a multimedia group exhibition featuring works by UK-based and international artists who reflect and 'know' the enigmatic, the intriguing, the frustrations and lure of desire. The resulting works, ranging from painting to sculpture, installation and film, highlight the hidden power and potency that comes from artifice and its ability to linger in our imagination. The exhibition title takes its cue from the J.M. Barrie writings about Peter Pan, in which Mrs. Darling possesses an unreachable kiss.

The Enigma Of Mrs. Darling's Kiss….

…Or perhaps not.
One of the beauties of fictional characters is that they are constructed beings, a dense compression of experiences, yearnings and emotions. They are observed distillations of possibilities, whose power and potency come from their artifice and their ability to linger in our imagination. In this way, they can become a proposition, a hunch to follow.

We know Mrs. Darling, we recognise the idea of her:

'She was a lovely lady, with a romantic mind and such a sweet mocking mouth. Her romantic mind was like the tiny boxes, one within the other, that come from the puzzling East, however many you might discover there is always one more, and her sweet mocking mouth had one kiss on it that Wendy could never get, though there it was, perfectly conspicuous in the right hand corner.' (1)

For us, the invitation to choose work that we envisaged together has been a great privilege, which we have the artists to thank. It's been harder to pin down the timbre of the exhibition. Neither of us are theorists. How do you try to describe and attempt to encapsulate a quality that you're looking for in work (and that paradoxically exists before your eyes) when, by it's very nature it is elusive?

J.M. Barrie gets straight to the heart of it, nailing a metaphor and construct that knows the lure, intrigue and frustration of the desire and the unreachable. Mr. Darling beat all Mrs. Darling's many suitors, and…

…'got all of her, except the innermost box and the kiss. He never knew about the box, and in time he gave up trying for the kiss.' (2)

We are with Mr. Darling here; we don't want to own it. We want to see Mrs. Darling's slippery, side stepping conceptual kiss. What's crept upon is the awareness that there is an approach to the work in the context of this exhibition that delights in shimmery shape-shiftery, that has an appetite for the mid sentence, the frustration of the missing page, and the half-heard and misheard. Work that creates space for the imagination to fill in. A concern for surface in its broadest sense is also fundamental—whether made or understood as a kind of veil; surfaces that act as a kind of veneer, or that pose questions beyond the appearance of things. Narrative as a surface for the structure of making—whether film, painting, print or sculpture, the works know weirdness, darkness, joy and beauty to create a staging for Mrs. Darling's kiss.

⎯Stephen Chambers and Denise de Cordova

(1) Barrie J.M., Peter Pan, p. 1. Vintage 2009.
(2) Barrie J.M., Peter Pan, p. 2. Vintage 2009.

This exhibition is curated by Stephen Chambers and Denise de Cordova and is accompanied by a Film Programme for the duration of the exhibition.

Discussion: The Essence of Mrs. Darling's Kiss
21. July
Thursday at 7.00pm

Exploring key themes in the current exhibition, this event will include a talk led by curator Denise de Cordova with participating artists and special guests.

Denise de Cordova studied at Brighton College of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art. She has taught extensively throughout the UK, and exhibits nationally and abroad. She is currently represented by the Eagle Gallery, London. She also exhibits ceramic sculptures under the name Amy Bird. Awards include the Rome Scholarship, the Henry Moore Foundation Fellowship, and the Stanley Picker Fellowship.

Arch 402 Film - evening screening series
13. July - 3. August 11
Wednesdays at 7.00pm

Mrs. Darling's Kiss on film: Evening screening series
In conjunction with the current exhibition Mrs. Darling's Kiss, this programme of four screenings reflects the frustrations and lure of desire that are not always conventional in expression. Each screening will be presented by one of the exhibition's participating artists.

Wednesday 13th July, 7.00pm
Running time: 110 min
Nagisa Oshima, Ai no Corrida / In The Realm of the Senses (Censored), 1976 (102 min)
Christine Rabette, Merci!, 2003 (8 min)
* inspired by Kate Davis & David Moore

Wednesday 20th July, 7.00pm
Running time: 85 min
Terence Davies, Distant Voices Still Lives, 1988 (85 min)
* inspired by Kate Rowles

Wednesday 27th July, 7.00pm
Running time: tbc
Surprise selection of films
* inspired by Jonas Grimas

Wednesday 3rd August, 7.00pm
Running time: 93 min
Charles Laughton, The Night of the Hunter, 1955 (93 min)
* inspired by Stephen Chambers and Denise de Cordova

Please note some films are rated 18.

All screenings are FREE and open to the public.
Booking is not essential, but welcomed as spaces are limited: Joanna Foster 020 7490 7373

Visitor information
Gallery opening times: Wednesday - Friday 11:00-6:00, Saturday & Sunday 11:00-3:00

Admission: Free

Tube: Liverpool Street, Old Street
Overground: Hoxton Station
Buses: 55, 48, 149, 67, 242, 26

About the gallery

Arch 402 Gallery opened in 2010 and showcases up-coming and mid-career artists from the UK and Germany. The gallery is located in a sensitively converted 2,700 square foot railway arch situated next to the new Hoxton overground station, and includes a unique outside space (to the rear) that highlights the work of prominent Urban Artists.

The gallery aims to provide artists with a forum to explore the conceptual and aesthetic relationships between their work in contemporary and historical contexts. The gallery programme enables artists to collaborate in curated group exhibitions and with writers, art critics and museums.