I can fit a fist in my mouth

22 Mar-18 May 2024
PV 22 Mar 2024, 7-9pm

Cubitt Gallery
London N1 9HH


I can fit a fist in my mouth is a new exhibition and body of work comprising moving-image and sculpture by Leeds-based artist, Mathew Wayne Parkin. In this solo presentation at Cubitt, Parkin engages with acts of withdrawal; censorship; violence; and memorial within intimate relationships, with particular attention given to the ways that ethics and the interpersonal play out in relation to one another.

For a new film, under the same title as the exhibition, they have invited a group of people, with whom they hold varying forms and degrees of intimacy, to audio-describe a series of vignettes, gestures, and brief moments. These have been drawn from their personal archive of footage of family members, ex-partners, lovers, and friends.

Referring to modes of conversation that are akin to sparring and forms of violence within dialogue, Parkin’s newly-commissioned work grapples with; boundaries between bodies; moments of breakage in dialogue; violence in love. It does so through various intimate  moments and movements; a laugh; a pause; a breath or reverb.

Language and gestures feature as both physical realities and speculative metaphors for examining closeness - blows come from breaths and sighs as much as fists thrown; words spill from mouths only to be filled by these same titular fists; gut instinct is relied upon in descriptions of unseen images, and punches to the gut are received.

Accompanying the film are new sculptures including a love-seat made with readily-available materials, and exhibition barriers adorned with love locks that interact with and partition the gallery space. These accompany keyrings, locks, and other engagements distributed throughout the exhibition that collectively act as motifs of support, safety, confinement, and submission in differing contexts - and exist on a spectrum of which one end is care and the other is control.

Sound for the film was developed in dialogue with, and by sound designer Claude Nouk, several people known to the artist were invited to act as audio describers, and guidance on access and audio description was gratefully received by Mathew from Elaine Joseph (SoundScribe).

This exhibition is supported by Leeds Inspired, and Radar, Loughborough University, whilst part of this work was developed during a residency with SERF, Leeds.



MATHEW WAYNE PARKIN is a sodden artist, suspicious writer and sometimes researcher. They often work with experimental moving-image as part of an expanded practice that encompasses exhibition making, relationships,  writing and programming. Parkin is particularly interested in autobiography, intimacy and speech. Resisting dominant and professionalised forms of media and moving image production, Parkin embraces DIY and home video techniques, as well as queer crip analysis. Their work is like an armpit, personal and intimate, of the body and relationships – smelling earthy.

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