The History of Touches brings together several works from Toronto-based artist Talwst’s infinity series of miniature dioramas in reclaimed ringboxes, which explore the sensation of touch as well as concepts of voyeurism and intimacy. These works utilize their miniature size and enclosures to appropriate and reconfigure the concept of the keyhole perspective, offering viewers a purposefully distant view into private interactions. Talwst distills the moment when the psychological energy between two people is most intense and human contact is an instinctive act of comfort, offering no narrative other than a meditation on this sense.
Talwst’s desire to capture this sensation was inspired by Japanese Shunga art; erotic art that was consumed by men and women of all classes and inspired possibilities in contemporary love making. The exchanges featured in these works aimed to reveal that which required concealment in everyday society. Similarly, through these works Talwst considers the invisibility of such subtle contact in a contemporary milieu. Housed in reclaimed ring boxes – cases that hold, protect, and transport precious objects- the act of opening and closing Talwst’s works here also play with private and public in flux. There is a sense of intimacy inside; a feeling that once the boxes are opened we are looking in. The concept of touch is also present in the experience of the works; they are amongst some of the most handled artworks, requiring to be held and opened in order to be seen.
Talwst is a Canadian-Trinidadian artist working in mixed media and performance practices. He is currently engaged in his ongoing and prolific infinity series of miniature dioramas in reclaimed ring boxes. An exploration across cultures and time periods, through these works Talwst aims to draw attention to absent or misinterpreted narratives, suggest the non-linear complexities of history, and explore relationships between cultures. He has produced a number of sub series in this format that focus on themes such as inserting marginalized narratives into art history and drawing parallels between disparate cultural histories.