Is there space for empathy: Enni-Kukka Tuomala

21 May 2021–15 Aug 2021


The Nunnery Gallery is proud to present the first UK solo exhibition by the Finnish artist Enni-Kukka Tuomala. Tuomala’s artistic practice is focused on empathy. Through her works she aims to transform empathy from an individual feeling to a collective and radical power. Tuomala’s exhibition this summer will examine what empathy means in 2021, in post-Brexit, post-Covid, post-colonial Britain, and what role it should play in helping us re-enter public life and re-discover physical closeness with each other. Her immersive works make empathy – an often abstract and intangible feeling – into something physical and tangible we can touch, see and feel. Tuomala will ask us to consider: Is there any space left for empathy? How could we re-learn to be physically close again? What will it take to make us feel safe with each other again? How could we practice being together? What’s the process of re-entry into physical public life? What does public + private space stand for in 2021? For years Tuomala has been exploring the spaces between people: investigating the public, social, personal and intimate distances between us and how they influence our abilities to meaningfully connect with one another. In trying to understand why the unoccupied space between us is primarily defined as “negative space” through the absence of physical entities – as oppose to “positive space”, defined through the existence of emotional entities – Tuomala hopes to reframe how we occupy and share space.

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