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> > > Touch Art Fair pioneers a new approach to presenting visual arts

15 October 2013

brown line drawing of a young woman and her guide dog against a sepia background

A tactile portrait of Emily Davison and her guide dog, Unity, by Nendie Pinto-Duschinsky. Photograph: Claire Follea

The Touch Art Fair is the first ever tactile art fair in the UK. On exhibition at 35 Marylebone High Street, London W1 from 17 - 20 October the fair is organised by pioneering french artist Scratch Adelia.

In a society where everything is at your fingertips but you are still not allowed to touch. At the Touch Art Fair spectactors are invited to participate in a sensory fête. They will be encouraged to reactivate their forgotten senses and to experience art in a more intimate way.

The Touch Art Fair challenges conventions and makes art accessible to people with sight loss through touch. 

Taking over a former BBC building the Fair features a gigantic new piece of work by Jake and Dinos Chapman created especially for the event amongst fifteen other international artists working in the haptic arts, inlcuding Abigail Burt, Axelle Russo, Colin Hambrook, Gillian A Mcfarland, Nendie Pinto-Duschinsky, Nicole Wassall, Phoebe Stannard, Rhiannon Palmer, Scratchadelia, Steve Chang Hee Lee, Sungshin Olivia Yim, Victoria Karlsson and Younghee Lee.

Writing in the Guardian comment is free Emily Davison says: "The concept of art as a visual medium that only those with sight can appreciate has been challenged within the past two decades by individuals with the revolutionary idea of conveying visual images in accessible formats to visually impaired people. The Touch fair is part of this movement."

A tactile portrait of Emily and her guide dog Unity will appear alongside artwork that takes a wide range of stances, stylistically and thematically. Artworks that play music and interactive playful soft sculptures will be on exhibition with a tactile garden based on the myth of Sisyphus, and an audio-descriptive installation which takes a narrative journey through the creative process describing the impact of psychosis.

The link between all the artwork is that allows for interaction by senses other than sight. The aim is to give visually impaired and fully sighted people an opportunity to engage with art in different ways. Running parallel with the nearby Frieze Art Fair it promises to be an interesting and entertaining exercise in breaking down barriers to perception.

The Touch Art Fair 2013 will take place at 35 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4QA. It is open to the public from 17 to 20 October 2013, and features work from international artists including Jake and Dinos Chapman.

Free tickets are available from touchartfair2013-freeticket.eventbrite.co.uk

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