Natasha MacVoy – Groping in the Dark

Exhibition: 28 September – 13 October 2019

Preview Friday 27 September

Natasha MacVoy presented new works exploring the limits of sight and site, using the tongue as motif, research companion, and mute narrator.


Groping in the Dark

This is slipping from my control I am slipping I am slippery Talking is slippery

What if I slip and fall? What happens then?

The pieces are body parts My parts

Apart from their parts

Filled with salt Himalayan salt

A reference to the blind, pioneering adventurer, Erik Weihenmayer

I found him when reading about The Brainport, a device that allows the wearer to see using their tongue.

The tongue has the most nerve endings closest to the brain. The Brainport connects a paddle of electrodes, placed on the tongue, to a headcam. The electrodes pop and tingle on the tongue drawing out the images from the camera.

Erik uses it at a climbing wall. He calibrates it by scanning words and then sweeps over the holds on the wall. He scans over them twice to be sure he is launching the right way.

He also uses it to play games with his daughter and for them to laugh together. His daughter can be cheeky and he can correct her.

They have banter. My tongue as a tool

The tongue that is both inside and outside

The tool for language The slippery tool that slops about behind your teeth The intimate Sloppy Slippy Wet Furry Smelly Long Wide Attached


Working with a new language Learning a new skill for this body of work

Using my bodyFinding parts that could substitute

A visual language for the walls The walls that define the non-space

Access point Both inside and outside the studios

The walls are temporary Making and marking out spaces

To create a work that takes the line of sight around the site Work that contains the space but cannot be contained in the viewer’s field of vision

Work that leads you to the edges of the space and back. Body parts as measuring tools

scale and proportion

Seeing my seat, sitting on the walls Own it

Sit on it Keep it down Protest Rest Meditate

The salt is flesh Salt enhances the taste of flesh Salt is flavour Salt leaks out in our sweat Sweat is slippery before it is dry and salty Bodies slip over each other with sweat

Caught between holding on and letting go

Hold on Let go Push up with your legs Don’t just pull Launch Read the situation

There is no safety rope and the holds are not for climbing The climb here is internal

It is a dialogue of movement

What to hold onto and what to let go of? What brings us most pleasure

And what do we hold close?

Laughter Playing Being independent

Sitting still Being seen Having space

Groping in the dark


Natasha MacVoy (b.1977) works predominantly in sculpture, installation and performance. For six years after the birth of her children, Natasha couldn’t afford a studio so retrained as a tennis coach and studied neuroplasticity. Using tennis as a tool, she devised lessons that explored physical space, movement, interaction, listening and looking. Standing on court she realised that her practice had not stopped but her studio had moved.

Natasha also curates HER MIT Projects, a series of pop-up exhibitions, performances, collaborations and conversations using readily available materials, locations and resources. HER MIT Projects aims to provide a safe space for growing ideas, whilst questioning the possibilities of how work is produced, shown and shared. It is a space for trial and error learning, mistake making and list writing.

In 2019 Natasha received an a-n bursary for mentoring from Ben Borthwick. In 2018 she was an artist in residence at The Mothership, Bridport. Recent exhibitions include Reading (silently) in Public, a performance for Spike Island Associates’ PRODUCTIONPRODUCTIONPRODUCTION, Tate Modern, London;The audience seeped in, a collaboration with Chinonyerem Odimba, Arnolfini, Bristol; [The] Strange Case, with Chloe Brooks, Ickburgh Studio, London.