This way is very hard, but not insoluble
02.10.21 – 29.01.22

Photography by Ben Westoby

Kathy Acker’s final published text, Eurydice in the Underworld, harnesses the Greek mythology of the heroic trip to hell; refocusing the story’s centre away from the male hero and onto the dead girl, who has been murdered by a snake. Similarly, Ecco the Dolphin has lost their pod and must (like Eurydice, Orpheus and so on) travel deep beneath both time and space to rescue their missing and possibly dead kin.

In times of climate crisis, hell – the realm of the dead, the scorching, the boiling, the rotting – is also situated at the sea, as waters heat, melt and rise. This way is very hard, but not insoluble sees Linda Stupart and Carl Gent in residence, populating the underground space at KELDER with the props, costumes, images and texts that form parts of All Us Girls Have Been Dead for So Long, a low-fi musical extravaganza commissioned by the ICA that flows between beach and underworld, prehistory and near-future. This built environment will also play host to live events hosted throughout the residency period.

FORTUNE-TELLING FISH: You should know that some of what will have happened to and through you will seem cataclysmic or catastrophic or overwhelming. Everyone is scared of being left behind in hell, but sometimes the only options left are different kinds of death in love.

Dr Linda Stupart is an artist, writer, and educator from Cape Town, South Africa.

They completed their PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2016, with a project engaged in new considerations of objectification and abjection. They are currently a permanent lecturer at Birmingham City University, and have previously worked at University of Reading, London College of Communication, and Camberwell Arts College. 

They have also run arts education projects at Tate, South London Gallery, Battersea Arts Centre, and Camden Arts Centre. Linda is interested in the possibilities for writing and making discrete grounded encounters with different kinds of bodies (of knowledge, objects, affect as well as corporeal bodies) as a way to think through less alienated ways of living and thinking together. This comes out of encounters with feminist art, postcolonial, ecological, queer, and affect theory as well as embodied and object-based critical institutional encounters. Their current work consists predominately of writing, performance, film, and sculpture, and engages with queer theory, science fiction, environmental crises, magic, language, desire, and revenge.

They have recently exhibited at Lisson Gallery, Raven Row, Tate, IMT, Matt’s Gallery, and The Showroom in London; as well as Transmission in Glasgow, DISTRICT in Berlin, Kunstverein Dusseldorf, Kunstraum Niederösterreich in Vienna, and Syndicate in Cologne.
Carl Gent is an artist from Bexhill-on-sea, UK.

Their recent work has sought to rehistoricise and refictionalise the life of Cynethryth, eighth-century Queen of Mercia. This has involved live publishing, the building of community carnival floats, forced-feeding with pigeon-shaped cakes and the construction of wishing-well cesspits.

Recent and upcoming solo exhibitions include Jupiter Woods, London; Wysing Arts Centre, Bourn; Flatland Projects, Bexhill-on-sea and are publishing their first book, Felon Herb expanding on their manufacture of absinthe at KELDER Projects. They were one of the recipients of Artangel's inaugural Thinking Time grant, have new writing published in Happy Hypocrite #12: Without Reduction; and At Practice #1 and have recently exhibited and performed at David Dale Gallery, Glasgow; ICA, London; De La Warr Pavilion