The creative alchemy that takes place between artistic couples has always held a unique fascination – the private interplay of sex, romance, and art occurring behind closed doors is irresistibly intriguing. Labour of Love is an upcoming exhibition exploring this compelling and complex dynamic with a focus on London-based queer creative couples. For one night only, east London’s VFD will host an evening of photography, art, written words, and music investigating the emotional labour, vulnerability and potent creativity within creative queer relationships.
“I’m personally quite obsessed with creative-artist couples,” the exhibition’s curator Megan Wallace tells Dazed. “So much of any relationship is a repetition of intimate mundanity that creates a shared world – rules, rituals, domesticity, cumulative moments together. I think that creative couples – whether it’s through a shared practice or collaborative work – are able to create something tangible from those moments that serve as a record of the intimacy we all have in relationships but would never be able to explain except in totally hackneyed terms.”
The ability of artist couples to reflect on the unique ecosystem they’ve created between them seems, to Wallace, even more imperative for the queer community. “For queer people, I think this intimate microcosm you create is particularly pertinent – it can be a safe space to unpack (sexual) trauma, explore gender and create new relationship structures away from the cis-heteronormative, monogamous models of love and intimacy that we have been taught from a young age.”
“I love work which takes us into these delicate, often hidden spaces and asks us to respectfully witness that love” – Megan Wallace
Wallace elaborated on the intricate but sometimes elusive entanglements between love, sex, and creativity: ”I think romance is in itself a form of creativity – you imagine a future with someone, it’s an inspirational thing to peel back the layers of someone and delve into who they are. I guess you also get a shot at self-fashioning, and there is something pretty exhilarating in seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes, it gives you a new shape and form.”