When I ventured out on my “essential” shopping trip in week five of lockdown, I made a discovery worth sharing. While the world is abiding by the 2m social distancing rule, m2 Gallery in Peckham is giving back to the street by showing a public 24/7 exhibition called Pause by Gerry McCulloch.
The presence-absence paradox in which the artist elicits face-to-face encounters which convey profound social intimacy made me realise all the ways in which we were already socially distant before lockdown was imposed. The pandemic has not changed us; it has revealed our interdependencies, and this exhibition demonstrates how solitude actually enables us to connect.
Being alone successfully is a precondition for being together. We learn to communicate effectively by focusing without interruption on our sensate experience of relating to others. There is something unmistakably tender and loving about taking the time to really look at someone, while allowing ourselves to be seen.