ART STUFF on a train # 15: ‘The Separated Tongue’

Most days art Critic Paul Carey-Kent spends hours on the train, traveling between his home in Southampton and his day job in Surrey. Could he, we asked, jot down whatever came into his head?


Emma Hart

There’s an attractively visceral semi-obscenity to the tongue, which is like – indeed, which is – something you find inside the body. And yet it comes out into the world, physically and as communicator. You can tap some of that just by sticking it out, but what if you want to isolate the tongue as an item of sculptural interest? You can poke one out of a picture or wall, as in Urs Fischer’s widely-shown Noisette (2009). Otherwise, as Emma Hart explained when she found herself making any number of ceramic tongues for her engaging Dirty Looks show at Camden Arts Centre (to 29 Sept), you have a ‘plinth problem’ – on what are the tongues to be put? Artists haven’t been put off by this recently, though: 2013 has seen something of a stand alone tongue fest. Henrik Potter showed a real ox tongue at IMT. Martha Friedman sculpted giants and stuck them in the ground at Frieze New York. Michael Dean had concrete tongues curl around the edges of tables at Herald Street. Hart herself has tongues on trays and picture frames, as trowels, rosettes, door handles, napkin rings etc. All part of a riotous show which captures life’s confusion and excess through a call centre, gargoyles, gardens, persistent coughing, hidden videos and, of course, a gaggle of tongues…

Michael Dean

About Paul Carey-Kent

Art critic and curator, based in Southampton. I write most regularly for Art Monthly, Frieze, The Art Newspaper, Border Crossings, STATE, Photomonitor, Art Critical, ArtLyst... and, of course, FAD - when I'm on the train to and from my job in London as a health and social care financial policy analyst.

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