In an age when digital communication technologies are changing the ways we relate to one another, we frequently encounter emotion in abbreviated forms and express it at a virtual remove. Social media networks encourage us to “like,” “follow,” or “hashtag” our feelings and desires, and to convey them in symbolic emoticons. Against this backdrop of disembodied and dispersed sentiment, The Little Things Could Be Dearer highlights four artists whose work heightens our awareness of more direct physical and emotional relations. These artists create groupings or networks of forms that take as their subject aspects of bodies coming together—individually or socially—to emphasize their points of contact.
While approximating certain qualities of broader networks or social relationships, these works are deeply rooted in physical and bodily engagement. They explore the kinds of connections that do not lend themselves easily to language, and suggest that something fundamental occurs in the first moments of our encounters with other people and objects. Rather than simplify or abbreviate our emotions, these works complicate the affective space of sensations, thoughts, and feelings that cluster together to produce emotion in the first place.
The exhibition features artists Carina Brandes (German, b. 1982), Melanie Gilligan (Canadian, b. 1979), Ulrike Müller (Austrian, b. 1971), and Michael E. Smith (American, b. 1977).
The Little Things Could Be Dearer is organized by Mia Locks, Curatorial Associate, MoMA PS1.