On Wednesday 24th Feb, I’ll be presenting a short film on what wearing architectural costumes means in my work as part of ‘A Not Unruffled Surface: Contemporary Sculpture and Dress’ organised by the Henry Moore Institute. The film should be made available after the event, so I will post a link here soon. Tickets are still available (it’s all on zoom, of course) if you fancy joining the discussion, the line-up for the day looks really interesting.
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
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.
Sat 11 Feb | 2pm | free
Join the artist for a talk about her exhibition and wider practice.
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):
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
This new installation work is a commission from Plymouth Arts Centre and it opens tonight! The exhibition is on until 25th May so do pop in if you’re in the area.
“In thinking about proxemics and repetitive behaviour Speed began this piece of work by visiting the south Devon coastline. Observing beaches as a site of constant change and regeneration, she related this back to human efforts at building and creating territory; forming an idea for a filmed performance at South Milton Sands (also known as Thurlestone Sands).
Now edited, looped and integrated within the installation, multiple projections hint at the attempt, by a locally recruited group of volunteers, to build a temporary suburb. Battered by the wind and fighting with the customised and awkward windbreaks they hammer away in a Keaton-esque fashion to create a space of their own making. Equally impermanent, Speed has designed a structure comprised of a series of dividing walls for the gallery, creating liminal spaces that mirror those we see in the films. These walls never allow the viewer to be inside or outside, but always in-between.”
A massive thank you to Gillespie Yunnie Architects for their sponsorship.
The next exhibition I will be showing in is ‘Head to Head’, a two-person show with Hayley Newman at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester.
Opening is Thursday 28th February. More information HERE.
I’m leaving for Rome today to install new work for Oredaria Gallery. It will be part of the exhibition ‘Subjective Involvement in Physical Spatial Entities’ with Aeneas Wilder and Esther Stocker. The work is based around façades and here is one of the drawings to give you a taste.
I wanted to share this amazing work by Jo, a member of Blue Room, an arts service for people with learning difficulties that runs three days a week at the Bluecoat. I visited them while Topophobia was on, and they came into the gallery a couple of times to see me performing inside my work.
They responded to my work by making small environments in boxes and, in the case of Jo, making a full-body costume. There are even small holes in the headpiece where her hair can come through. Amazing!
Back in the UK, but I had time to take ‘Inhabitant (St Louis)’ out into the city for the day before I left. I also performed at the opening in the park so will add the work to my website properly as I gather all the footage and images together. For now, the City Gardens, Mississippi river and North Side of St Louis here.
There’s a little piece about the ‘Camp Out’ show at Laumeier Sculpture park – opening Saturday – in the St Louis Post Dispatch today. I’ll be wearing the work around St Louis tomorrow and performing at the opening too – pictures soon!
After a lot of problem solving (budget + huge wall + fabrication + safety etc = this), I spent a really fun couple of days in March planning and making the work with Philip Hutfield from McD Marketing Ltd and Corian® using Cutting Edge plc’s amazing workshop for fabrication.
It’s made using Corian®, the same material the wall is clad in. We baked the material in a sheet 2.5 metres long (big oven) and used a mould to create the soft loop shape while the Corian® was still pliable. The work was fixed to the wall using silicone – in the same way that windows are fixed into skyscrapers. Some images to give you an idea before I get chance to document the work properly.
A huge thanks to Phil for all his hard work on the project. It will be up at Open Eye Gallery until September 2nd, unless the silicone is so strong it has to stay permanently! The work is part of the external wall, so can be seen outside of gallery opening hours, although the exhibitions inside are well worth a visit.