Soul Sessions

For their exhibition, Soul Sessions, Melissa Alley and London Group member Paul Tecklenberg will be showing site specific sound installations in Bethnal Green.

Soul Sessions
St John on Bethnal Green, 200 Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA

Opening Hours:
Fridays 12th and 19th October 6-9pm
Saturdays 6th and 13th October from 12-6pm (Saturday 20th from 3-6pm)
Sundays 7th, 14th and 21st October from 12-4pm
Private View: Thursday 4th October 6-9pm
Artists’ Talk: Friday 19th October 7pm

Soul Sessions is an extended version of ‘Sessions: Park Keeper’s Room’ specifically made as a sound installation for the belfry at St. John on Bethnal Green. Its video version is part of Empire II, curated by Vanya Balogh and has been shown at the Venice Biennale in 2017, Berlin, Brussels, Tallinn, Coastal Currents in Hastings and will be on show in Madrid, Paris and Zagreb this year.

Whilst Melissa and Paul Tecklenberg take different approaches to making art, both their practices explore what is hidden, overlooked or obscured by using hypnosis, accessing the subconscious and working in trance states.

The site specific sound installation ‘Sessions: Park Keeper’s Room the whole story’ is a result of Melissa using hypnosis with a friend to help them recover memories from their childhood. In this particular case they relived the first time they drank alcohol and its consequences, reminding us of the transitional period between childhood and adulthood. Melissa is a fully qualified and registered hypnotherapist and precautions were taken to prevent ‘false memory syndrome’.

Paul Tecklenberg will be showing the work ’21 Grams’ (reformatted for this space). The inspiration for this piece is based on Dr Duncan McDougall’s experiments in 1907 of weighing terminally ill patients in a hospice in Philadelphia. He weighed six patients at the moment of death and discovered that on average, their body mass dropped by 21 grams, implying the ‘life force’ or ‘soul’ had mass. Tecklenberg explores what the soul might be through 21 objects that weigh 21 grams, including a 35mm film; an AA battery; a cigarette lighter, a memory card from a PlayStation 2 and a thermometer.

Melissa Alley will be present throughout creating a series of “auto-trance portraits”. Alley has trained herself to work empathically, drawing from her subconscious, where each colour, shape and mark reveals a story about the sitter. The drawings will be made face-to-face and used as catalysts for potentially transformational conversations. They and their notes will be attached to clipboards displayed around the church for viewers to find and read. As the information contained could be sensitive, there will be no names attached. The work in the exhibition will change and evolve as more pieces are added. To book a sitting please email her at [email protected]