Nicola Turner investigates mortality, vitality, eroticism, mass and fusion. She explores the interconnection of life and death, human and non-human, attraction and repulsion. In her work she combines found objects that hold traces of memory, detritus including materials from organic ‘dead’ matter (e.g horsehair) and the shapes of human form. She explores how these materials give off energy forces, including how ‘dead’ matter can provoke a visceral aversion and attraction, that can provoke new ways of looking. She explores the interconnection of humans to objects and each other and the awareness of death, as a way of affirming life forces, amidst confusion of boundaries. Her work has resonance with the concept of the abject and the capacity of the world to disorient and connect to primal instinct. She has been looking at abjection’s ongoing relevance to how the ‘other’ comes into relation to ‘self’, awakening perceptions and sensations. Turner’s research has led her to experience an abattoir, a cadaver course and a personal ritual burial. She approaches her practice by drawing on influences from Jane Bennet’s inclusive materialism and working with paradox. She has been drawn away from dualisms of body/mind, attraction/repulsion, vitality/mortality into pursuing questions of the relationships and energies between things often held as separate. George Bataille writes of the cultural shame of filth, sexual function and death and how our “horror of nature” is linked to the fantasy of independence. Turner is interested in the dissolution of these boundaries and looking at the in-betweeness of things, exploring how humans are ecosystems that exchange and overlap with other ecosystems, not bounded by skin or death. Her work and methodology have both been looking at challenging individuality and creating awareness of the wider interconnected energies of which we are a part.
Turner is a Bath based artist who recently completed a MA in Fine Art at Bath Spa University. Recent exhibitions include: Winter Sculpture Park, Gallery No32, Old Bexley, London, UK, 2021; Being Human, Bart’s Pathology Museum, St Bart’s Hospital, London, UK, 2019; Show One, Locksbrook, Bath, UK, 2019; and, Vital Mortality, 14th International Conference on the Social Context of Death, Dying and Disposal, East Building, University of Bath, UK. With a background in scenography Turner has over twenty years international experience. She graduated from Central St Martins College of Art & Design and in 2007 won the Green Room Award and the Helpmann Award for her design for Rusalka at the Sydney Opera House