The Soft Animal of the Day
Hella Gerlach + Cristina Stolhe
[05/07/24 - 27/07/24]

The Soft Animal of the Day duo exhibition of Cristina Stolhe and Hella Gerlach choreographs the ensemble of subtle cues which allow us to understand that we are living in sensitive emotional and physical ecosystems. We are beings without exoskeletons. Within a given day, one can be totally exposed or very hidden, naked or clothed, refined or rough. This spectrum of textures of sensation can be traveled moment by moment and the work of these artists tracks those trajectories. Above all, in the words of Mary Oliver “You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves”. In nonsensical equilibrium, raw desire, or fragile bliss, these photographs and sculptures function as talismans of feeling.



“I take pictures today, tomorrow I don’t know”

Cristina Stolhe’s work analyzes the experience of everyday life through the photographic tool.
Using analog, digital and mainly her mobile camera, her work explores the raw essence of life while creating a “more than meets the eye” game, infusing images with emotions that may not seem apparent. Stolhe’s scenes elicit a sense of nostalgia, a familiar feeling, yet expose the intimacy of the moment through a voyeur lens, attempting to treasure the instant and make it everlasting. In a way, she invites us to consider how our individual experiences and memories shape our lives and identities. However, the act of photographing is nothing but an impulse, a need expressed in what we understand by photographs, translated into an infinite album where the artist also assesses what photography is, regardless of the medium. In 2018 the publishing house Terranova launched her first book Random Pictures Book, presented as an ode to mobile photography, in which she explores the over consumption of images nowadays.

Hella Gerlach‘s sculptural work is deeply intertwined with the living tapestry of human relationships, apparatuses, and environments. Her sculptures, often crafted from wood, ceramic, and textile serve as receptive connectors propelling movement, mediating between the body of the viewer (or user, since they sometimes ask to be touched), the object, and exhibition space. They offer a tactile bridge that playfully aim to open up the physical body to mutations and dialogue. At the core of her practice lies a transformative examination of the body, both physical and emotional, through its vulnerable connection to other bodies, society, and technology. Gerlach’s current work deepens her examination of the sense and concept of touch. Some of these hanging pieces, felted woolen bodies, are connected to a senso-motoric device which make them vibrate, shake, or spasm. Like furry and vulnerable nervous systems, these bodies engage a process-oriented inquiry of movement, touch, and play. This new body of objects is currently morphing into a laboratory for interactive sculptures, which grows with humans and their milieux.