Kate Dunn The Tabernacle
1.10 — 22.1 22
Kate Dunn The Tabernacle
1.10 — 22.1 22

A plus A gallery is delighted to present the first exhibition made in collaboration with TJ Boulting gallery from London. This will see the two galleries host each other’s exhibitions, with A plus A exhibiting at TJ Boulting in London in 2022 with a show by Enej Gala. For this first collaboration, TJ Boulting will present a solo show of British artist Kate Dunn, which was shown in June at the gallery in London, and will present some new works made especially for Venice.

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The Tabernacle invites you to experience the travelling tent of wandering, with a multi-sensory painting installation, through the lens of gabber music’s ‘pharmakon’. The tabernacle was a tent made by Moses in ancient times, built under the premise of being God’s dwelling on Earth; the tent was omnipotent, well known for its potential to emancipate or destroy.

Gabber music began in Rotterdam in the early 90s and was quickly adopted by hardcore ravers in Thatcher’s Britain, it is characterized by its relentlessly fast, loud and distorted sound. It creates an environment in which the audience becomes one collective body, worshipping not the DJ but the experience itself. In her first work created in lockdown in the summer of 2020, Skin of Light, Kate looked at our attempts to reach ‘ascension’. This new work with gabber however, attempts a cataclysmic return to the body.


Using UV reactive pigments, that also respond to rave culture, Kate has created paintings that exist in three stages within the installation – under normal gallery light, then UV light and finally darkness. Under UV light the pigments charge, absorbing and reflecting light and becoming their own light source, which they then emit in darkness, adjusting the opticality of the painting. The pigment acts as a living organism, reflecting back at us our own cyclical nature.

‘I liked the idea of these works taking us from day to night, especially as they’re essentially built around an unexpected gaping hole that lockdown created in me: the ‘party-shaped’ hole. I’d listen to music in my room, on my walks, and immediately be in a dark room, sweaty bodies surrounding me. As I dug further into my research I discovered the term ‘collective effervescence’, describing how communal spaces such as churches, protests and raves intensify our experience of union to the point of electrifying the quasi-religious experience.’

Referencing the altarpiece, Kate uses the Gothic arch as a structure in which to experience the figural gesture. ‘Making my work is a bodily act, even before the painting there is the cutting, sanding and priming of the panels. But more essential to the process is that when painting I am trying to engage from the body as opposed to the mind.’ Kate’s use of the arch began in response her training in Florence where the Romanesque arch appeared everywhere. However in time the arch has become symbolic of many things, including iconography, the Renaissance and sacred space.

Space is an integral part of The Tabernacle, centering as it does on a tent, historically a communal and impermanent space. ‘Pharmakon’ is defined as the poison and/or the remedy, The Tabernacle conceptualises this in two formats: through the bodies, and the spaces that we were forced to inhabit during lockdown. During this time we all became acutely aware of the destructive potential of spaces; it was no longer the tabernacle, but our bedrooms and kitchens that could emancipate or destroy us, the only way out – a final return to the body.

“When I initially made the work for The Tabernacle I was still hyped for the time I’d be able to go out, get sweaty and party again. But as lockdown eased in London and my show opened, I discovered that I wasn’t ready. Handed all that I had fantasised about, I could not take it. I thought I was up for being the guinea pig, but my heart sped at the image of the dance floor, now a breeding ground.

The new paintings for Venice are about the parties missed, the longing to be ready and the time it will take to get there. Using the framework of the Gothic arch, they steal tracery from Venetian Gothic architecture, such as the serpentine ogee arch and the quatrefoil. The paintings reflect the ache to be part of a collective body, and the push for the intensity of being in my own body to be enough.”


The performance is seven minutes long and involves fantastically loud music by Shoobz Darg.


Kate Dunn (born UK, 1993) studied her Foundation at Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design, followed by four years in Italy at The Florence Academy of Art before returning to London for her MA at City & Guilds of London Art School. Kate has exhibited in the UK and Italy, including The Tabernacle – Welcome to Pharmakon at TJ Boulting (2021), Skin of Light (solo) at SET, London (2020), When The Shit Hits The Fan with GUTS Gallery (2019), The Contemporary British Painting Prize 2018 and The Great Women Artists x Palazzo Monti Residency 2018. Kate also teaches at City and Guilds School of Art School. She lives and works in London and is represented by TJ Boulting.


TJ Boulting gallery was founded ten years ago in 2011 by Gigi Giannuzzi and Hannah Watson. The gallery name is taken from the landmark Arts and Crafts building we inhabit in Fitzrovia, central London. The programme of the gallery focuses on supporting and promoting emerging artists across all media, often offering their first solo show and continuing to represent them, whilst inviting established artists to participate in thematic group shows. Artists represented include Poulomi Basu, Juno Calypso, Juliana Cerqueira Leite, Maisie Cousins, HelenA Pritchard, Stephanie Quayle, Hrafnhildur Arnardottir / Shoplifter and Boo Saville. The gallery is also the home of Trolley Books, which was founded in Venice in 2001 by Gigi, and moved to London the following year. Trolley continues to this day to print all our books near Venice and will celebrate its 20th anniversary in Venice.

Ten people maximum per performance, entry is free and places can be booked every hour on the hour via Eventbrite