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Margaret Salmon: Two

Office Baroque is pleased to announce Two, an individual exhibition by Margaret Salmon. This will be Salmon’s fourth exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition will take place in our spaces on Harmoniestraat in Antwerp from 18 till 20 December 2020 from 2 till 6pm and will continue online thru 31 January, 2021.

In Autumn 2018 Margaret Salmon worked with 3 couples on a new film and series of photographs about lovemaking. The phrase making love was central to preparatory conversations and their overall collaborative task, and they talked about sexual intimacy, about the erotic as opposed to the pornographic. Salmon’s intention was to make images which responded to both a physical and emotional connection between committed, caring couples – people in love, not exclusively lust.

Filming took place in familiar, domestic spaces. Salmon worked alone on camera, using multiple 100 ft rolls of 16mm film over a single session with each couple. It was agreed that the lovers would not pause in order to accommodate the camera’s rhythm. This meant Salmon would periodically run out of film, stop, reload, and begin again. Sometimes she would pick up her 35mm stills camera and make photographs.

The final 16mm film, Two, is an intuitively crafted transcription of this performative collaboration. The film has minimal editing, and no sound – only in one instance is the order of a filming session changed. The work registers Salmon’s movements with her handheld Bolex; at times looking closer, focusing her lens, pulled into a gesture, connection, act, and then stepping away, noticing a room, a bed.

The photographs mirror her moving images; they notice sincere connection, physicality, skin, beauty, light. Is this a woman’s looking? A feminist erotica? Perhaps. The two’s performing signify a range of sexual and gender orientations: non-binary, lesbian, heterosexual. And sex is shown as a manifold experience – urgent, passionate, methodical, acrobatic, sensual, slow… What may be most intriguing and provocative, however, is the afterward, the erotic postscript, what the pornographic avoids. The full body caress, the conversation, the care-full kiss, the human touch.