Blush Response
Mary Hurrell

For its first edition, NICOLETTI AUDIO presents Blush Response, a 15 minutes soundtrack by London-based, South African artist Mary Hurrell (b. 1982). 


Originally made as a soundtrack to an exhibition, the work is composed of electronic vocal fragments, synthesized waves and text stemming from Hurrell’s research into Jacob Epstein’s tomb for Oscar Wilde at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Made in 1914 and inspired by Wilde’s poem ‘The Sphinx’, the tomb has evoked a tradition whereby visitors kiss the statue after applying lipstick to their mouth, leaving a ‘print’ of the kiss on the stone. In 2011, however, a glass barrier was erected around it to make the monument ‘kiss-proof’. 


Blush Response excavates ideas around touch, absence, memorialized and replicant bodies in a poetic meditation on multiplicities found within feminine symbols and representations of love, sensuality and desire. Featuring an automated voice reading a text evoking the different colours that could be left by lipstick on various surfaces – e.g. ‘cake, flame, grenadine, rococo’ – Blush Response explores perceptual synaesthesia between hearing, touching, and moving through imagined and digital tomb-like spaces that oscillate between stasis and transformation. 


Blush Response is the first work produced by Hurrell as part of an eponymous live performance and exhibition organized by NıCOLETTı at Exo Exo, Paris, with the generous support of Fluxus Art Projects and the French Institute in London.