Iris Touliatou at fluent

Artist: Iris Touliatou

Exhibition title: low theory

Venue: fluent, Santander, Spain

Date: May 18 – July 7, 2023

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and fluent, Santander

“Her need to be in official economies and unofficial attachments, …” [did it actually say precarious attachments, or was it unofficial economies and official attachments]? Either way, I thought that sounded pretty accurate. I didn’t read the whole chapter but I certainly must*.

fluent is pleased to present, low theory, a solo exhibition by Iris Touliatou.

People figure themselves out by arranging materials, in formats and positions that enable them particular vantage points and ways of doing things. By adding new variants to a body of on–going works, low theory expands from a series of institutional and infrastructural parameters in the will to examine the affective side of fragmentation and failure and the unruly forms of relationality.

Six oscillating fans, hanged within the available wall height, subtly stir bundles of house keys copied from strangers, friends, collaborators and neighbours. The installation, titled emotional infinity (the sound of them coming back amplified and looped), operates an elusive emotional current as the air moves across the space, creating the sound of familiarity, both private and social. Rather than objects, the ever–growing archive of keys condenses an expansive overlapping of intimate gestures and exchanges. Like personal offerings obtained by Touliatou through informal arrangements of trust, the work moves within the infinite loop of one’s introspection, and the larger conditions of structural precariousness, speculation and economic/emotional bonding.

untitled (sweet and low, yellow highlights) , or the resulting and indissoluble combination of corporate refuse from three local bookshops: fluent books, GIL and La Vorágine, is dispersed along the tiled floor. It shreds printed material once used to transmit the identity of the respective bookshops: invoices and stocklists highlighted with a yellow marker. Unable to function under a logic of productivity and information those papers are now an invisible shared waste made tangible. The resulting colour, texture and scale of the installation speaks of the multiple and collective materiality of these spaces and their activities—a commitment to waste and value as an intimate, shared memory.

Attentive to the subtlest presences in the functioning of a given space, structure or institution, Touliatou is also conscious of the macroscopic implications existing in wider organization and circulation systems, such as electric and urban configurations. mother ligh (fluent), an added light fixture hanging lower than existing lights in the room, links together notions of femininity and energy as an allusion to the often invisible, lived, supporting, sometimes unquestioned systems, that make life possible.

one– way sale is a new score created for this exhibition, calling attention to how the everyday can inform our understanding of how infrastructures are produced, negotiated and contested. It consists of 100 one–way tickets for the regular service operated daily by the local ferry agency Las Reginas in the Bay of Santander, and resold at fluent at a negotiable reduced price. Restructuring the social choreography of access, movement, geography, economic hierarchies, displacement, engagement and support, one–way sale diverts the movement of bodies and inserts incompleteness, a lack of finality, what José Esteban Muñoz describes as a queerness “visible only in the horizon”.

The gesture’s apparent immateriality channels a rerouting, a disruption of a monopoly, a disturbance of a normative functioning while giving space to subtle affiliations and transient compositions, making “point A” to “point B” vulnerable to interruptions, deviations, and momentary conjunction among bodies and things.

Iris Touliatou lives and works in Athens. Recent solo exhibitions include Gift, Kunsthalle Basel (2023); mothers, RODEO Piraeus/London (2022); appendage, Grazer Kunstverein, Graz (2022); Her work has been included as part of Siren (some poetics), Amant, New York (2022) the 2021 New Museum Triennial: Soft Water Hard Stone, New York (2021–22); Work and Leisure, Milan (2022); When I state I am an anarchist, PLATO, Ostrava (2022); Eclipse, the 7th Athens Biennale (2021); Anti Structure, DESTE Foundation, Athens (2021); The Same River Twice, Benaki Museum, Athens (2019); In 2023 she will be part of the 12th Goteborg Biennial and have a solo exhibition at PEER, London.