Caroline Ingham’s work explores our relationship with our bodies at times of vulnerability and ‘bodily doubt’*. At a time when health is increasingly recognised as a legitimate subject for artistic enquiry, investigation and scrutiny, many practices are reclaiming existence beyond a state of health as the norm – beyond what is considered straight, healthy, neurotypical, or productive – enabling us to question a range of myths, stigmas and cultural attitudes that shape widespread normative perceptions**. Coronavirus too has exposed the presumption of health as fundamentally flawed, compelling us to re-think concepts of vulnerability and precarity. It is these ideas and normative assumptions that Caroline aims to question through her practice.
The assemblages of her Enfleshing series are brought together into sculptural forms using a technique Caroline terms ‘free sewing’, in which strips of textile, string and latex are incorporated into the stitched line as it is being made. This mimics the gestural mark-making that characterises Caroline’s drawings and paintings. Apparent in Enfleshing I-VI is the skill and time taken to ‘craft’ each work, signifying a solidity at variance with the ephemeral states they embody: vulnerability, uncertainty and precarity. The delicate works hover on wire coat hangers, casting ever-changing shadows around them. These ghostly forms, reminiscent of bodies and what once clothed and protected them, accordingly, become portals to our own vulnerability.
A recent MA Fine Art Painting graduate from Camberwell College of Arts, Caroline’s practice is based in London. Prior to her postgraduate studies she worked for many years as a specialist museum exhibition designer at the British Museum and Head of Design at the Natural History Museum.
*Creamer, A-M (2019) The Wounded Storyteller: on speaking vulnerability, acknowledging dependence, Symposium on Vulnerability and Resistance, Central Saint Martins, UAL, London 26 June 2019
**Rodríguez Munoz, B (2020) Health: Documents of Contemporary Art, London. Whitechapel Gallery Ventures Limited