Missing You Already!, 2021
- Solo Exhibition
Missing You Already!
9th-17th October 2021
Launch event Saturday 9th October 12-5pm
Missing You Already! brought together recent sculpture, drawing and performance by Barry Sykes that are all about the paradoxes of tangible absence and awkward pleasure.
Featuring wall-sized drawing, cameraless photography, laughter workshops, an exercise class, research tables, a picnic bench and activity sheets, the exhibition combined elements from several current bodies of work, including a residency at a naturist club, content for an Activity (& Inactivity) Book, and the practice of Laughter Yoga. Each in some way examing aspects of leisure, respite and interaction.
As Artist in Residence at Oakwood Naturist Club in Essex - part of Focal Point Gallery's Radical Essex programme - Barry studied this secretive suburban community via a number of inventive tactics – including life drawing, questionnaires and sunography, now using this material to develop informal filing systems and structures that have the casual clumsiness of human bodies.
Barry’s ongoing Activity (& Inactivity) Book started as a collection of puzzles, drawings and questions and has developed into a study of absence, stillness and negation. This now also incorporates his Laughter Yoga teaching, his Sauna Reading Group, stationary exercise routines and a growing collection of magic wands and zero birthday candles.
These works all involve gestures towards some kind of unreachable catharsis or epiphany, but in acknowledging their inevitable shortfall, find contentment. Whilst many of these projects have been developing for years, much of it has been completed during the recent lockdowns. Although not directly about the pandemic, it was already work concerned with the compromised ways we interact, self-reflect or navigate our surroundings. In bringing these works together for the first time we will see what insight these various approaches might offer us.
Suitable for all ages, the exhibition and events are free to enter. The gallery is ventilated and has a disabled toilet and level access from the street. Please wear a mask when visiting and test for Covid-19 prior to attending events.
The exhibition was accompanied by a series of events. The launch event on Saturday 9th October included a new version of Barry’s performance piece An Introduction to Laughter Yoga - where the audience joined him in some gentle fake laughter exercises; and an An Isometric Q&A where the audience were able to ask him any questions about the exhibition whilst he undertook a series of static endurance exercises in his gym kit. On Wednesday 13th October at 11am Barry discussed his exhibition on Instagram Live with the artist and podcaster Emma Cousin.
Saturday 9th October, Launch Event, 12-5pm
3-3.30pm. An Introduction to Laughter Yoga
4-4.30pm. An Isometric Q&A
Wednesday 13th October,
11am. Instagram Live discussion with Emma Cousin. Instagram.com/barrysykes
All events free to attend. No need to book.
BARRY SYKES (born 1976, Essex, UK)
Barry’s artwork is often made when seeking out unfamiliar techniques or situations, responding to this uncertainty and unease by researching, making and collaborating, with a wide variety of outcomes. This has included artist residencies across Europe, at a university campus, a planetarium, and most recently a naturist club. Usually employing basic handmade or digital working methods, this has over the years incorporated forgery, feedback forms, phonetics, karaoke and impersonating a police officer, each time examining skill, difference, authenticity and connection.
Recent projects during lockdown have included #WorldofAnteriors a fundraising series of watercolours about life in a shielding family. And also activity sheets, online Laughter Yoga and workshops on artmaking during Covid-19, for organisations including The Museum of London; Focal Point Gallery, Southend; Falmouth School of Art; Manchester School of Art and University of the Creative Arts, Farnham, Surrey. - barrysykes.com
Artworks Project Space, Barbican Arts Group Trust, 114a Blackhorse Lane, London, E17 6AA. barbicanartsgrouptrust.co.uk
DETAILS OF WORKS (in advance of the professional photos):