Mimosa Pudica rethinks the traditional practice of palpation, the diagnostic examination by the hands of a doctor. A human patient may feel vulnerable, shy away or retreat, but how could a sculpture respond?
The 2-channel video installation Findings on Palpation derives from the shared research of Arens and Dr. Alejandro Granados Martinez, which was put in place during workshops at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital debating the relevance of haptics for sculptures and the human body. Participants were invited to negotiate the possibilities of contact-based simulation tools and the implications for the plasticity of sculpture as well as bodily sensuality. The workshops featured two haptic simulation systems; one constructed to allow medics in training to gain experience in rectal examination and palpation, the other connecting a historical sculpture to a virtual environment with changed surface resistivity parameters. The subsequent film installation discusses a hijack of such biomedical imaging software to render the sculptural dimension of simulations, in both the physical and simultaneously the virtual interface.
Johann Arens was born in Aachen, Germany and received his MFA in Fine Arts at Goldsmith, the University of London. Since then he has worked on public commissions assigned by Arnolfini / Art and the Public Realm Bristol, Jerwood Foundation London, Bold Tendencies and Kettle’s Yard Cambridge.
He was awarded the Fellowship in Contemporary Art by the British School at Rome and has been a resident at Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Space London and the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. In recent year he was amongst others visiting tutor at Royal College of Art London, University of Fine Arts Helsinki Finland, Manchester School of Art and Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam. And in 2016 he received the Prize for Young Art by the Neuer Aachener Kunstverein.
Recent exhibitions include ‘Scenes of the World’, Pump House Gallery, London (2019); ‘Findings on Palpation’, at P/////AKT in Amsterdam; ‘digital_self’, IMMA Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin andIFFR Rotterdam Film Festival (2018); ‘These Rotten Words’ Chapter Arts, Cardiff (2017); ‘Preis für Junge Kunst’ Neuer Aacherer Kunstverein, Germany (2016); ‘Somatic Matter’, Le Foyer, Zürich; ’New Acquisitions’, Fondazione Fotografia Modena; ‘Pillar Huggers’, Or Gallery, Berlin (2015); ‘TTTT’, Jerwood Space, London; ‘Emotional Resources’, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland (2014) and ‘Internet Centre & Habesha Grocery’, Paradise Row, London (2013).