Category: exhibitions

La Biennale di Venezia

Last week I spent the week in Venice at the invitation of Wave Particle, who are the lead artists and anti-curators on the Scotland + Wales collateral project for the 16th International Architecture exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia, which was commissioned by Architecture & Design Scotland. The Happenstance is a project involving lots of artists and architects, showcasing practice that has play at its centre. As well as a profile of my practice in the main exhibition, the film reel in the venue includes my short film of a workshop that happened in April in Aberdeen with twelve incredible young women working with Jack Webb and I to make a piece of work at the invitation of Look Again Festival and City Moves Dance Agency. The beautiful camera work on it is by Duncan Nicoll. You can find out more about this work, Façades/Fronts, which will be performed live on Saturday 16th June in the centre of Aberdeen, here

Central to the (non) pavilion in Palazzo Zenobio is Baxendale‘s structure, a timber framed corridor of sorts with the potential for endless change and adaptation. The construction of this was an enormous group effort with many of the artists helping to realise it, especially Francis Thorburn and Brian Hartley also assisted by some amazing Venetians including Giovanni Sambo, Sandro, Jesus (yes, really) and the awesome Alberto Lago, who has been a driving force on the whole project, among others.

I was lucky enough to do a workshop with 18 children from S. Francesco di Sales primary school in Ca’ Zenobio’s garden, where we thought about shelter or refuge as a necessary place to feel free and to be able to play. They made column costumes in pairs so as to be one support among the group, who together were strong and ready to support anything. They were amazing and the workshop worked out despite my pretty shonky Italian (much miming).

The opening event on Friday gave me a tiny glimpse of what might happen in the garden of Palazzo Zenobio over the coming month – a steady flow of visitors came in and out, with children from the local school arriving in the afternoon, word having spread of this incredible garden space. People lounged, laughed, played, ran, climbed, ate pizza, drank prosecco, watching huge films on the giant screening wall, lay in deckchairs and in the shade of the structure, skateboarded and invented. It was really pretty incredible indeed. We all joined in the local sagra later that evening with a parade and attempted to teach some locals the Gay Gordons (tricky when only half the crew know it to start with)

Special thanks have to go to Liz Murphy, Judit Bodor, Harald Turek and Lizzy O’Brien for their constant support and organisation behind the scenes as well as Morag, Sam and Anya at ADS. Artists and architects involved in The Happenstance include: artists Brian Hartley, Ruby Pester & Nadia Rossi, Tassy Thompson, Emily Speed, Francis Thorburn, Daniele Sambo, Hannah Brackston, architects Fergus Purdie, (Fergus Purdie Architects), Lee Ivett & Ambrose Gillick (Baxendale), Graham Ross (Austin-Smith:Lord), Paul Stallan & Keri Monaghan (Stallan-Brand), designers Alberto Lago and Neil McGuire, and film-maker Basharat Khan. The four boss, young associates will be looking after the non-pavilion for the rest of the month too. Peter McCaughey is the lead artist at Wave Particle, Happenstance is his middle name.

Innards

Innards Innards_2 Innards_3 Innards_4A Woman’s Place at Knole has just opened and my work, Innards, is one of the six new commissions, curated by Day & Gluckman.

I was especially interested in three women connected to Knole: Victoria Sackville-West, Josefa Durán known as Pepita (her mother and infamous flamenco-dancer), and Vita Sackville-West (her daughter). A working fountain, Innards borrows the form of a dressing table and makes public a space usually reserved for private ritual. Water, architecture, gardening and intimacy are brought together to reference important elements of these women’s lives. The title refers to the guts of the women and the divide between the refined exterior of life at Knole and the more hidden daily workings and relationships that existed.

The fountain echoes Victoria’s incredible energy and the installation of running water, electricity and telephone which she oversaw at Knole. The planting of Heliotrope nods to Vita’s later career as a gardener. It was also the base note of Victoria’s favourite scent. The work alludes to the difficulties and complexities of these mother–daughter relationships, and of finding moments for tenderness, care and sensuality against the backdrop of public display and the performance of being a ‘lady’ of Knole.

I am creating a bespoke calling card as a nod to Victoria’s passion for stationery. Register here to receive this printed work this summer.

Performing the Toilette, a performance, will take place as part of the work on Tuesday 7th August.

 

A Parade of Architectural Commas

I have been a tad lax on updates recently! A few exhibitions have gone up (and come down) in the meantime including

(Re)learning to Read, a group show curated by TORQUE at the Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool
Transparency, an Arts Council collection show at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
[Re]construct at the Chapel at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

parade

as part of the last exhibition, YSP commissioned a new piece of work (well, strictly speaking two, as the film in the exhibition is also newly commissioned by them). Last weekend a group of performers took a walk around the ground as part of A Parade of Architectural Commas. It’s always strange testing out a new piece in such a public way and there was lots to think ab

 

out and changes to make for the next outing as part of their 40th birthday celebrations on July 16th. The title comes from Capability Brown’s writing on the construction of a garden landscape and refers to the follies that traditionally inhabit a Georgian Garden.

parade

Here there are five archetypes: the grotto, the chapel, the ruin, the obelisk and the pyramid. I have been thinking a lot about the tease and reveal of this kind of landscape, with it’s carefully crafted views, but I am realising that erotic sensibility is all but impossible when a comedic pair of legs are introduced to a sculptural costume. Perhaps a photo shoot with the follies (commas) in July will better reveal their seductive side… watch this space.parade

Body Builders in Exeter

I’m so pleased that the work I made in Texas back in October is going to get an outing at Exeter Phoenix in January. emily-speed-body-builders

EMILY SPEED – BODY BUILDERS

Fri 20 Jan 2017 – Sat 04 Mar 2017 | Gallery open from 10am-5.30pm daily (excluding Sundays) | free

Here’s some more info:

The exhibition is the first UK showing of new works that include Body Builders (2016) a video work commissioned by Fort Worth Contemporary Arts in Texas, (USA), which focuses on the relationship between the body and ancient classical architectural forms.

Themes that circle power, gender, status and the symbolic meaning and language of architecture are reflected upon and explored through the abstract narrative of her film. Her costumed protagonists, performed by choreographed dancers, are suggestive of ancient Greek Caryatids (female figures carved in stone that served as architecturally supporting columns) who are liberated here from their traditional weight-bearing, static roles.

Elsewhere in the exhibition, sculptures and wall drawings reference classical architectural forms, including structures that serve as hybrid architectural furniture and suggest a fluid, performative, even ritualistic space of interaction and exchange. Their shelves and niches function as a platform for the display of a series of small-scale clay models, which might suggest a soft remaking or reimagining of monumental stone buildings.

ASSOCIATED EVENTS

Artists Talk
Sat 11 Feb | 2pm | free 

Join the artist for a talk about her exhibition and wider practice.

 

BODY/BUILDING @ TRUCK Calgary

TRUCKMain Space/Parkade/U-Hall
June 3, 2016 to July 9, 2016

Solo exhibition: In BODY/BUILDING, ‘Groviglio (Tangle)’ is a two-channel film that considers the city (in this case, Rome) as a kind of palimpsest and the layers of activity from millions of inhabitants that have been erased, rewritten, replaced and overbuilt. A series of photographs and a short looped film comprise ’Sketches for Build-Up’, the results of many hours Speed has spent working with acrobalancers exploring the body as a kind of building material. ‘Brick Parade’ is a playful performance, where two brick walls will divide, contain and disrupt visitors to the exhibition. Following the opening, these costumes will be available for visitors to wear.

Recent things..

Troy Town in-progressLast month I spent two weeks at Troy Town Art Pottery working on some new ceramic pieces as a collaboration with Ben Cove. Updates to follow when they have been taken out of the kiln (if they all survive..)

I was really pleased to show a drawing from my Body/Building series and some artists’ books with Day & Gluckman at Sluice Art Fair. The rest of the ‘Body/Building’ series are currently on display as part of Fabric Spaces as PIANOFABRIEK in Brussels, curated by Sevie Tsampalla.

I’ll be going quiet for a while to get into the studio, do some writing and to finish off a few new editions. I will be back on 5th February next year with a wearable sculpture work for an event at the Wellcome Collection.

 

Thisistomorrow review of Indefinable Cities

On for two more weeks – Indefinable Cities at Airspace Gallery, Stoke on Trent, reviewed by Dominika Mackiewicz here.

More about the exhibition itself here.

Showing Groviglio/Tangle (foreground) by Emily Speed  and 'Look See' by Ben Cove (background) Showing Groviglio/Tangle (foreground) by Emily Speed and ‘Look See’ by Ben Cove (background)

 

Indefinable Cities

Airspace Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent

 

April 10th – May 16th, 2015

A group exhibition, exploring the development of cities worldwide, and in particular the way that artists are responding to and documenting Cities in flux, and more; how artists impact on their environments and the regeneration of Cities. Presenting works of 6 UK and Japanese artists, curated by Anna Francis (UK) and Koh Yoshida (JP).

film still

Still from ‘Groviglio/Tangle’, Emily Speed, 2015.

Indefinable Cities features the works of 6 artists – 3 from the UK – Emily SpeedBen Cove and Rebecca Chesney and 3 from Japan –Ayaka NishiHirofumi Suzuki and Daiki Murakami. The exhibition will open at AirSpace Gallery and then move to Japan, where the works will be exhibited at 6 venues across the country.

All the women

As it’s International Women’s Day it seems like a good time to mention that I shall be off to the states in May and June for six weeks to work on a Rosendale Cultural Crossroads Public Art Residency in New York State with Women’s Studio Workshop. I did one of my first ever residencies at WSW back in 2007 and made a limited edition artist’s book called ‘Unfolding Architecture’. I am thrilled to be going back! The picture below (a detail from Masaccio’s Saints Jerome and John the Baptist) is a tiny clue to what will be going on when I am looking at the relationship people in the town have with the architecture there.

MasaccioI also have a group show coming up in April called Indefinable Cities but more about that soon…

Unbuilt Library

Next week I will have some small works, some that date as far back as 2005, leaving the studio for the first time to be exhibited at Mrs Rick’s Cupboard (thanks for the invitation Craig Fisher):

Fragment

P.V: 12 February 2015 (7 – 9pm)

13 February – 26 March 2015    Open Friday 12-4pm

Mrs Rick’s Cupboard is pleased to invite you to our next exhibition, ‘Unbuilt Library’ by Emily Speed.

Each model in the Unbuilt Library is a reading room designed for the reading of a specific book or text, with space for only one or very occasionally, two readers.  Speed is interested in the relationship between the body and architecture and the book/spaces featured in this library all make this connection and have been particularly influential on Speed’s practice; literature is often a significant part of her research. The shape, materials and size of these intimate spaces are chosen according to the text itself, taking cues from the events, characters and tone. The models (or perhaps, unrealised sculptures) have been made over a long period of time, the earliest in 2007 and the most recent in 2015. 

The architectural model itself is also of great interest to Speed as a medium that presents an ideal; existing as pure potential. Models are delicate, yet symbolic of power, because they can be held and even destroyed by human hands (the city, literally in your grasp) and they also provide an unusual situation, where one can be fully outside of a space and see the whole.

Mrs Rick’s Cupboard

33 Seely Road
Nottingham
NG7 1NU
United Kingdom