In ‘Hold Tight’, Mark Joshua Epstein and Stina Puotinen invite the viewer in for a shared experience in response to recent political events in the US and UK. The installation they have created references both the physical space of the waiting room and the often anxious sensation of waiting. A world away from the neutral colours and decor we associate with institutional waiting rooms, Puotinen and Epstein have instead created a visually dynamic space, where the familiar is rendered unfamiliar. A space where the organic is synthetic, where innocuous patterns are in fact drawn from the security industry, and where a nostalgic feel-good poster has been updated for this era. As the title implies, the artists aim to expose and highlight this act of waiting, a sense that this time of collectively held breath thrust upon us by forces outside of our control doesn’t have to be borne in isolation. Puotinen and Epstein implore the viewer: hold tight to yourself, hold tight to your beliefs and hold tight to each other.

Stina Puotinen was born in New York, USA, in 1983, and lives in Manchester. She is currently studying for an MFA in Collaborative Practice at Manchester School of Art (2015-17). Recent exhibitions and performances include ‘One of One’, Caustic Coastal, Salford, ‘Minibar’, Material Art Fair, México City (2016), ‘Spiritual Sausage’, Abrons Art Center, New York, ‘Secret Tinas’, Cheim and Read, New York (2015), ‘(Re)Forming Education’, Museum of Art and Design, New York, (2014), ‘CHERYL at The Window at 125’, Roger Smith, New York (2013), and ‘Pop Rally presents CHERYL’, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2012). Puotinen has had residencies in La Escocesa, Barcelona, Museum of Art and Design, New York, and Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe, New Mexico (2013).

Read Michaela Hall’s essay Keep Me Hanging