At the culmination of his PhD, Jay Kochel presents Exact Fantasies, a series of four tableaux that explore the relationships between fetish, magic and interfacing the body. He uses material metaphors of containment, boundaries and fluidity to incorporate perceptions of purity and contagion. The tableaux allude to phantasmagoria and a Freudian sense of the uncanny, a sense of the familiar made foreign. This sense of misrecognition acknowledges the power of mimetic transformation that occurs through sympathetic magic, giving bodily power to objects that bear no resemblance to the bodies they reference.
In Jay Kochel’s Touch Me Gertrude Stein a sparse collection of transparent assemblages is carefully arranged in the gallery: some suspended mid-air, others laid out on the ?oor or placed on a shelf. The artist has cast in clear plastic an assortment of tools, consumer items and accessories, a shining sample of detritus for a future archaeologist of our times: i-pod, scuba-mouthpieces, vibratory massager, thongs, enema-nozzles, foot-pumps and toilet plungers. Spot-lit in the dim gallery space, the objects are presented in seemingly incongruous pairs, joined together or connected by thin plastic tubes. The height of each object corresponds to the body part that would most appropriately interact with it: headphones hang ready for the head, foot-pumps lie in wait for the feet. On first inspection each object is a meticulous replica of its original, down to the engraving of non-slip grips and the glinting texture of screw-thread. And yet on closer observation the forms are not perfect and it is hard to determine by eye if they are hard or soft. The Slumpy bottle and pump is just that, and there is a sense of plastic fluidity about even the best-replicated objects that adds a tinge of the uncanny, as if we are observing a temporary stage in the creation or dissolution of each piece.