1. Who fattened the house with its extra layers of insulation? With its shredded papers and tossed out plans, some arriving already rotten, some newly soaked with coffee or grease.

2. The walls are freshly papered. Noisy things folded over and over into one another until they become momentarily quiet.

3. Which town and city dwellers splashed about in this tactile bath of sound, remembering its notes before plastering more diagrams of machines or narratives to come all over the wall?

4. The idea of noise inside structure is always perverse: taps, flies, hearts – all of them prickling, lapping, dripping slowly down to leave their mark. Pictures on the wall are one type of insulation, one extra layer of subcutaneous skin that stretches newly over and makes its own shape.

5. Things always move. An animal raises its head, flaps wings; a young maniac looks out, drags his own madness through trees into other meshes of time. Everything puddles in the end – blood, wax, water. A jar filled with water, yellowing, greening, blueing, then black.

6. The horror of community was what brought them together. Hearing and touch suddenly sought by desperate hands and feet on less than solid ground.

7. A body among other bodies, each one specific. Common things like trees through a window, little seeds bedded in cotton and soil. Natural things never denied the power of speech, their bruising or banding simply part of the ecstatic occurrence of growth.

8. A dog’s lot, ladies and gentlemen. A bending of identities into combinatory segments. Cells and cellular identity. Wax and smoke. And lo! horrors of all kinds sneak their altering mechanisms into the world.

9. The permanent economy of trauma with all its major and minor procedures came to feel comfortable. Crime and punishment sat flat-bottomed on the earth and refused to budge. Like two tents opposite one another, strings out taught and interlocking, woven in the wind, crossing in the middle such that fall over one, and you fall over both.

10. We must leave some to their ghosts and machines. We would like to bring attention to those hats and clothing.

11. Clothes with buttons. Mouths with tongues. Figures that become rolls of material, of cloth, of silk, of cotton – conditioned scraps of material ready to work on, to fold and unfold.

12. Some lacework. Some erotic doodles. A hole in the middle through which to see both at once. 

13. Maybe T-shirts smell of vanilla. Of cucumber almond salve. Of river.

14. Candlelight or sunlight, the sky slung between expects discomfort. The sky a single plane of obsession, a black line with all depth and no depth. Pink plums hard like tiny knuckles on the tree.

15. And still, sound cannot travel through a vacuum. Waves need a material medium for their propagation.

16. The Egyptians were great believers in abbreviation: ancient notions, ancient economy. A time when the clock was just a round dot on a slip of ivory.

17. The heraldic significance of seeing an animal outside its natural habitat – a rabbit or a duck – might suddenly unspool the contemporary mind, remind it of the perspective system of symbols. Remind it that in a simple room, newly papered, all the messy particles of noise and space, with their columns of air at unequal height, are all in motion, moving together.

18. Remind it of intermediate gradations. Of seepage. A black line against a brown line against a blue line dotted with white.


There are 18 works of coloured pencil and watercolour on paper. Their contents are complicit agents of re-sampling: children’s drawing, historical diagram, contemporary theft, and more.

Helen Marten (born 1985, Macclesfield) lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include Drunk Brown House, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London (2016); No borders in a wok that can’t be crossed, CCS Bard Hessel Museum, Annandale-on-Hudson NY (2013); Plank Salad, Chisenhale Gallery, London (2012); Evian Disease, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); and Almost the Exact Shape of Florida, Kunsthalle Zürich, Zürich. Marten received the Lafayette Prize in 2011 and the LUMA Award in 2012. Coinciding with this exhibition, Marten will publish her first novel The Boiled In Between, with prototype publishing. In 2021 she will present two major new solo exhibitions at Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz and Castello di Rivoli, Turin.


For further information please contact the gallery at +44 (0)20 7493 8611 or press@sadiecoles.com