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Labour of Love (2022)
Jesse Glazzard, “Untitled”. Image featuring Jesse Glazzard and Nora NordPhotography Jesse Glazzard

These photos explore love, sex and creativity in queer relationships

The images feature in an exhibition titled Labour of Love, a one-night-only celebration of LGBTQ+ couples bound together by love and art

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.”

Featuring work by Nora Nord, Jesse Glazzard, Hannah Parsons, Beliza BuzolloRachel Ellen Hopkins, Xoey Fourr, Hidhir Badaruddin, Simone Casarotti, and a DJ set by Loraine James, Labour of Love offers a rare glimpse of queer intimacy.I think we still don’t see so many true-to-life depictions of queer intimacy – especially when it comes to trans, intersex, non-binary, and gender-non-conforming people or queer people of colour or non-monogamy – so I love work which takes us into these delicate, often hidden spaces and asks us to respectfully witness that love.”

Take a look at the gallery above for a glimpse of some of the artworks featured in Labour of Love.

Labour of Love is at VFD in Dalston, London, from 3pm until 10pm on June 5 2022