To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life

Ghost Image 11, Sholto Buck, 2023. Courtesy of the artist.

Ghost Image 11, Sholto Buck, 2023. Courtesy of the artist.

16 Sep – 11 Nov 2023

Barbara Hammer, Charlotte Prodger, David Moser, Dayle Palfreyman, Laila Majid, Laura Langer, Louis Blue Newby, Sholto Buck, Tobias Allen

To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life brings together works by the Turner-Prize winning artist Charlotte Prodger alongside Sholto Buck, Laura Langer, Laila Majid, David Moser, Louis Blue Newby, Dayle Palfreyman and Tobias Allen.


To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life takes as its point of departure the novel of the same name by French writer and photographer Hervé Guibert, and proposes a constellation of relationality between a group of intra-generational artists working in Aotearoa and internationally. Written following Guibert’s terminal AIDS diagnosis in late 1980s Paris, the book's narrative is a thinly veiled fiction of three months in the penultimate year of the author’s life, and hinges around a candid account of the death of his friend Muzil — a stand-in for inimitable philosopher and BDSM enthusiast Michel Foucault. A celebration of unruly bodies at a time of threatened extinction, Guibert’s text functions as a paean to friendship and community as well as a wry and unflinching devotion to chronicling corporality. Bringing together works by the Turner-Prize winning artist Charlotte Prodger alongside Sholto Buck, Laura Langer, Laila Majid, David Moser, Louis Blue Newby, Dayle Palfreyman and Tobias Allen, the exhibition presents an affective ecology of art that is at once liminal and spectral. By holding the figure at a remove, their works invoke desire untethered from its bodily framing and in so doing the precariousness of all flesh.

With a special one-night screening of short works from the 1980s by the pioneering queer filmmaker Barbara Hammer (1939-2019). 


Curated by Jess Clifford

About the Artists

Tobias Allen lives and practices in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, having completed their BFA (Hons) from Massey University in 2021. Working in performance, video and sound, their work examines the broad and difficult relationships between grief, death and queerness, with a focus on the deep-seated emotional states to be encountered therein. Recent works include: My Skin in Open // RED RAW (2023); Mourn You in the Seen, City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi (2022); The Car Video (Tenofovir Blue) (2022); and The Corpse, the Voice, the Faggot and We, Performance Art Week, Wellington (2021).

Sholto Buck is a poet and artist based in Naarm Melbourne. He recently completed a PhD in Creative Writing at RMIT, which explored photographic looking in poetry. He previously attended Elam School of Fine Arts, the University of Auckland. In 2020, Victoria McAdam presented a solo exhibition of his work at May Fair Art Fair. His first book of poetry is forthcoming with Rabbit Press.

Laura Langer (b. 1986, Buenos Aires, Argentina) is an artist based in Berlin. Langer studied at the Hochschule für Bildene Künste – Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main and on the Artist Program at the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires. She holds a further qualification in Film Studies from the Universidad del Cine, Buenos Aires. Solo exhibitions include Lateral, Braunsfelder, Cologne (2023); Headlines, Kunsthaus Glarus, Glarus (2022); Homesick, The Wig, Berlin, Homesick, Weiss Falk, Basel (2021); Liberty, Portikus, Frankfurt am Main (2020); and The World is Round, Piper Keys, London (2018). Selected group exhibitions include The State I am in, Capitain Petzel, Berlin (2022); Les beaux jours, Clearing, Brussels (2022); Paint-by-numbers, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zürich (2022); Presskopf, Drei, Cologne (2021); Tokyo Art & Crafts Object Expo, XYZ Collective, Tokyo (2021); Langer, Middleton, Ruf, Schiavi, Fantazia, Buenos Aires (2019); and Aubades. Land Art for Aliens, Weiss Falk, Basel (2017). In 2021, Langer was awarded the Hessiche Kulturstiftung studio grant for a residency in London.

Barbara Hammer was born in 1939 in Hollywood, California. She lived and worked in New York until her death in 2019. With a career spanning fifty years, Barbara Hammer is recognised as a pioneer of queer cinema. Working primarily in film and video, Hammer created a groundbreaking body of experimental work that illuminates lesbian histories, lives, and representations. Hammer has stated: “My work makes these invisible bodies and histories visible. As a lesbian artist, I found little existing representation, so I put lesbian life on this blank screen, leaving a cultural record for future generations.

Laila Majid (b. 1996, Abu Dhabi, UAE) has recently shown work at solo exhibitions Things to Come, Sherbet Green and Harlesden High Street, London (2023); Wipe Clean, Rose Easton, London (2022); and at group exhibitions including HMW, Darren Flook, London (2023); MELTDOWN, Ridley Road Project Space, London (2022); Bloomberg New Contemporaries, South London Gallery, London and Firstsite, Colchester (2021); and Nude, Fotografiska, Stockholm (2021) and New York (2022). Last year, her video work south florida sky, made in collaboration with Louis Blue Newby, was selected for the CIRCA x Dazed Class of 2022 award. She graduated from her MA at the Slade School of Fine Art in 2021, and has additionally completed an MSt in Film Aesthetics at the University of Oxford (2022). Majid lives and works in London.

David Moser (b.1993, Zürich, Switzerland) is an artist based in Paris and Berlin. Recent solo exhibitions include: Corpse and Mirror, Neue Alte Brücke, Frankfurt am Main (2023); Quality Gifts, BPA, Cologne (2022); Self-Service, FFFriedrich, Frankfurt am Main (2021); and Fix, JeanClaudeMaier, Frankfurt am Main (2021). Selected group exhibitions include: Sneckdown, curated by YABY, EACC, Castellón de la Plana, Spain (2023); Unto Dust, Fitzpatrick Gallery, Paris (2023), On the Brink of Remembering, Kunstverein Freiburg, Freiburg (2022); and Touch Release, Naussischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden (2021). Moser studied at the Hochschule für Bildene Künste – Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main.

Louis Blue Newby (b. 1996, London, UK) is an artist based in London. He holds a MA Fine Art (Distinction) from the Slade School of Fine Art (2022) and a BA Fine Art from Chelsea College of Arts (2018). Alongside his solo practice, Newby works collaboratively with Laila Majid. Unpacking the intersection of their individual concerns, Majid and Newby’s collaborative practice attempts to construct a language based on mediation itself. With their mutual interest in the subcultural languages of leather, fetish and body modification, the work explores the skin as a site of exchange, collaboration and desire, and positions exposure as an exercise in collectivity. Their recent exhibitions include: Beautiful Girls on Top! Sadie Coles HQ, London (2023); SKINFLICKS, Xxijra Hii, London (2022); not yet, San Mei, London (2022); healthy pink, springseason London (2020); and hold my hand by the tail, Transition Two, London (2019).

Dayle Palfreyman is an artist based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington. Palfreyman’s practice focuses on sculpture and installation, whereby materiality is approached through a conceptual and embodied perspective. Working primarily with metal and beeswax, Palfreyman creates autonomous spaces that explore the historical and thematic relationships between power and violence, desire and repulsion, and manipulation and temptation. Through their process of making, Palfreyman interrogates their and the viewer’s relationship with perception. Recent exhibitions include Mimicry, curated by Nina Dyer, Depot Artspace, Auckland (2023); Tilia, curated by Aaron Lister, City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi (2022); On Blushing, Enjoy Contemporary Art Space, Wellington (2022); and to dissipate, play_station, Wellington (2020). Palfreyman received their BFA (Hons) from Massey University in 2020.

Charlotte Prodger (b. 1974, United Kingdom) is a Glasgow-based artist working with moving image, writing, sculpture and printmaking. She was the winner of the 2018 Turner Prize and represented Scotland at the 2019 Venice Biennale. She received the 2017 Paul Hamlyn Award and 2014 Margaret Tait Award.

Prodger will present a solo exhibition at Secession, Vienna in November 2023. Recent solo exhibitions include Blanks and Preforms, Kunst Museum Winterthur (2021); SaF05, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2021); SaF05, Scottish Pavilion, Venice Biennale (2019); Colon Hyphen Asterix, Hollybush Gardens, London (2018); BRIDGIT/Stoneymollan Trail, Bergen Kunsthall; Subtotal, SculptureCenter, New York (2017); BRIDGIT, Hollybush Gardens, London; Charlotte Prodger, Kunstverein Düsseldorf (both 2016); 8004-8019, Spike Island, Bristol; Stoneymollan Trail, Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin (2015); Markets (with The Block), Chelsea Space, London; Nephatiti, Glasgow International (2014); Percussion Biface 1-13, Studio Voltaire, London; Colon Hyphen Asterix, Intermedia CCA, Glasgow (2012) and Handclap/Punchhole, Kendall Koppe, Glasgow (2011). Group shows include Language Is a River, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne, Australia; Dislocations: Territories, Landscapes and Other Spaces, Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, Scotland; Conflicts, Eugster Belgrade and Drugstore Belgrade (all 2021); Nine Lives, The Renaissance Society, University of Chicago; A Sculpture & Six Videos, Wesleyan University, Connecticut; Freedom is Outside the Skin, Kunsthal 44 Moen, Denmark (2020); Palimpsest, Lismore Castle (2019), Ireland; Turner Prize, Tate Britain, London; Always Different, Always the Same: An Essay on Art and Systems, Bunder Kunstmuseum, Chur; ORGASMIC STREAMING ORGANIC GARDENING ELECTROCULTURE, Chelsea Space, London (2018); British Art Show 8 (2016); Weight of Data, Tate Britain, London; An Interior that Remains an Exterior, Künstlerhaus Graz (2015); Annals of The Twentieth Century, Wysing Arts, Cambridge (2014); Holes In The Wall, Kunsthalle Freiburg, and Frozen Lakes, Artists Space, New York (2013).

Jess Clifford is a writer, editor and curator from Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, to where she has returned after several years working in art galleries and museums in London, most recently for the Tate. She has worked on numerous independent writing and editorial projects, notably as editor of two anthologies of artist lectures for the Städelschule in Germany, which included texts by Chris Kraus, Lynn Hershman Leesman and Moyra Davey. She holds a BA (Hons) in Art History and French from Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington, and an MA in Contemporary Art (Distinction) from the University of Manchester, UK. She is currently pursuing an MA in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters and is Online Editor for CIRCUIT Artist Moving Image.