In the exhibition The Human Experience, the British artist Emma Talbot works with painting, drawing, sculpture and animation. In focus are questions concerning the cycle of life and human’s role on earth.

The main themes in Emma’s exhibition include:
The human life cycle
Gender inequality
Climate collapse
What it means to be a human being on earth at this moment in time.

The exhibition centres around the two life events that all humans must undergo: birth and death. Emma portrays human life as a fleeting, floating, volatile, temporal moment. The works in the exhibition peel back the triviality of everyday life in an effort to expose the grand mystery: Our own existence. Throughout the exhibition, we also find questions about human’s impact on the planet, especially when it comes to the climate crisis.

Several of the works in the exhibition cast a harsh light onto the reality of our current condition. Yet they are deeply rooted in Talbot's belief in the ability of all people to look beyond their current situation and imagine an alternative and better future.

In the foyer, you can watch the animation All That Is Buried (2020). Here, we see a figure who abandons an urban landscape in search of something more meaningful. The video asks how we can listen more deeply to our inner voice, instead of what society tells us to do.

In the main gallery, two large silk paintings hang from the ceiling. Together, they describe the human life cycle. The first panel, The Human Experience (Your Birth) (2023), shows the process of conception, foetal development, birth, and experiences during childhood. The second panel, The Human Experience (Your Death) (2023), illustrates the ageing process and death on a planet in chaos. In the middle, midlife is depicted as a large and pink eye, a moment where deep existential questions emerge. This is also the place where Emma currently situates herself.

In the exhibition, we find inspiration from mythology, feminism and science. There are stories about gods, for instance Roman mythology’s Hercules in the video work The Trials (2022) shown in the main gallery. Here, Hercules is replaced by an older woman. Instead of killing and plundering, the woman nourishes what is alive, and imagines that the ruined landscape can be made whole again. The video centres on globalisation, the climate crisis, the shaming of ageing bodies, female reproductive cycles, and the oppression of women.

Five three dimensional works are presented. In Rootless Plant (2023), we encounter a figure with eight arms, referencing Hindu gods. The work In Spirit (2023) demonstrates the connection between mother and child. Life Forms (2023), a tree with thorns, cobwebs and a snake, is based on some of humanity's oldest ideas about how our world came to be.

Also on view are a series of watercolour drawings on handmade paper. The drawings depict important situations in the human life cycle, such as the safety of the womb, birth, friendship, chaos and grief.

Emma Talbot (b. 1969, Stourbridge, lives and works in London) is the winner of the 8th Max Mara Art Prize for Women and was included in The Milk of Dreams at the Venice Biennale in 2022. Her work has previously been exhibited at Whitechapel, London; Collezione Maramotti, Italy; Beiqiu Museum, China; Victoria Miro, London; Eastside Projects, Birmingham; Kunsthaus Centre D’Art Pasquart, Switzerland; Arcadia Missa, New York; KM21, The Hague, Netherlands; Turner Contemporary, Margate; The Freud Museum; London; Lisson Gallery, London; Galerie Onrust, Amsterdam; Petra Rinck Galerie, Düsseldorf; Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Germany and Tate St.Ives, England. Talbot studied at Birmingham Institute of Art & Design og Royal College of Art in London.