The Charged Object: soft sculpture and the aesthetics of touch



Margarita Sampson | Michelle Cawthorn | Yarrenyty Arltere | Brett Alexander | Paula Do Prado | Anne Graham | Nicole Monks | John Brooks

Gallery Lane Cove // 9 March – 9 April, 2016

The charged object is an exhibition that explores the ‘aesthetics of touch’ and the use of nontraditional and tactile materials in the artworks of contemporary non-indigenous and indigenous Australian artists.

The exhibition aims to explore how the fundamental shift in thinking about sculpture in the 1960’s has informed contemporary works in soft sculpture and anti-form. There will be a particular focus on works made with fibres, cloth and plastics with traditional textile techniques (weaving, sewing, wrapping, crochet, knitting, beading) and how these methods have been interpreted through contemporary installations, sculpture and animations.


Yarrenyty Altere Art, Goanna, Grandma, Grandpa, little Dingi, little Dingi’s friend, dyed blankets, thread, wool feathers and fabric, 2012

It is this idea of `feeling objects’ that the exhibition endeavours to explore and communicate to the audience. The use of these soft, tactile and universally recognisable materials are accessible, yet when presented in the gallery environment become charged with meaning and fascination. The works selected embody this relationship between the materiality of the work and the body, ‘both in the way the viewer’s body is engaged by materials and how the materials themselves can be used as bodily metaphors’.


“The object feels. This is the great discovery that Claes Oldenburg has introduced to Modern Art.  Oldenberg intertwines the organic and inorganic in his sculpture, conjoining human feeling and the physical properties of objects. These new feeling objects, presented as art, can no longer be under stood as detached and impersonal rather, they have been imbued with sensuality and sexuality.” (Celant 1995). [1]

[1] Cevant, Gervano (1995) ‘Claes Oldenburg and the Feeling of Things’, in Claes Oldenburg: an anthology, Claes Oldenburg, New York, N.Y. : Guggenheim Museum : Hardcover ed. distributed by Abrams, 1995: 13



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