This five-screen installation puts forward different contexts of precarity in today’s global society. Everything, from health to relationships to labour rights and human rights as well as economic survival is precarious. We attempt to bind these areas together in their audio-visibility.
Based on Flaubert’s prophetic novel Madame Bovary from 1856, our five screens show the precariousness of an adult life beginning; the world that seduces her into risking what she has and craving for what she doesn’t; and when, grasping at last straws, she takes more and more dangerous turns, and thus, inevitably, she ends in misery, both economically, psychically, and physically.
Meanwhile, from the edge of the space where her life plays out on four screens, we see how this is not an individual ill nor a blameable transgression but something towards which she has been pushed all along by her surroundings. Especially the meddling pharmacist Homais represents the probing of the curious and the rejoicing in Emma’s misfortune and downfall, as we see in Probing and Meddling.
In Shaping and Moulding the young woman is being educated in and outside school, and educating herself with activities inspired by her cultural environment. In Seduction she is lured into adventures that promise her a more fulfilling life, but instead, give her heartbreak and unsolvable debts. Nothing is what it seems. Last Straw presents her ultimate, desperate attempts to happiness, but only confronts her with the impossibility of achieving it in the social passivity she has been raised to cultivate.
Hence, in Endings we witness the inevitable denouements such striving and failures entail: financial ruin, divorce, mental breakdown, death.
Delighted to be part of the group exhibition Wayfaring at &Model, 19 East Parade, Leeds LS1 2BH
29 April 2016 – 4 June 2016
Michelle Williams Gamaker
Wayfaring, curated by Laura White in collaboration with &Model Leeds, looks at the territory White shares with other artists whose work asks similar questions around ‘how things come about’ and who also travel across disciplines, as writers, researchers, educators, makers, crafts-people, film-makers, architects, poets...
“In wayfaring ... things are instantiated in the world as their paths of movement, not as objects located in space. They are their stories. Here it is the movement itself that counts, not the destination it connects. Indeed, wayfaring always overshoots its destinations, since wherever you may be at any particular moment, you are already on your way somewhere else.”
(Tim Ingold, Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge and Description)
In the fluid movement between investigations and disciplines, processes are revealed uncompromisingly and are always open to further possibilities. This is evident in various ways in this exhibition – film that does not distinguish from its auditions; objects that are the process; architecture that navigates across physical space, documentation and poetic narrative; drawings that belong on no defined surface.
Materials drive the process as much as the artist handling them, so that what is being used (film, video, architecture, words, leather, clay, paper, photography) occupies intelligent material space in both digital and real environments. There is no separation between the hand and the mind in the production of the works, where thinking through making and understanding by doing is at the core.
Preview on Thursday 28 April 2016, 6pm–8pm, then open Wednesdays to Saturdays, 2pm–5pm
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