Siobhan Davies Dance is presenting an exhibition of sound and video works by the artist Phil Coy which explores movement and choreography in new contexts. Material Choir (2013) investigates the choreography of sound, deconstructing the traditional notion of a choir as a group, with individual singers navigating paths through the building, singing about the material surfaces they encounter. Recordings of the original performance will remain in the building for the duration of the exhibition. Originally invited to the Studios for Independent Dance’s what_now festival, Material Choir was jointly commissioned by Siobhan Davies Dance and Independent Dance.
In Moving Images (2013) individual dancers are required not to dance, but instead to hold a pose whilst holding scaled photographs of architectural details taken from the position where they are posing. Coy recognises that non-movement is an important aspect of any choreography and is interested in the tension that is implied in this non-movement – a physical impossibility for any living person. Moving Images has been captured on video, challenging the temporal relations between the moving image of the video recording the activity, the photograph held by the dancer, the moving body of the dancer and the inferred stability of the architecture.
In a formulated phrase reordered by movement (Prufrock) (2013), magnetic speaker heads attached to lengths of angle-iron lean against the wall and are captured on film by a CCTV camera. Lines have been cut from a poetry book containing the renowned T. S. Eliot poem ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ and physically pasted to the CCTV screen alongside the image of each speaker. Movements made within the space of the work are detected and trigger the lines to be ‘spoken’ out of the different speakers from an original recording of T.S.Eliot reading the poem. The mounted speakers themselves are figurative, referencing the head and body whilst echoing the material of the architecture the work inhabits.
Also included in the exhibition is Crate (2011-13), a standard issue wooden art packing crate that is essentially empty save for the audio equipment that enables it to record and play back its journey from one exhibition to the next; in this instance Bergen, Norway, to Siobhan Davies Studios, London. On arrival the crate is opened out and the sound recorded on route is played back in the Studios.
Coy’s work explores the languages, materiality and histories of representation often feeding back the structural processes involved in making work into its presentation. Recent screenings and exhibitions include Whitstable Biennale, South London Gallery, The Whitechapel Art Gallery, Wysing Art Centre and Lux. In 2010 Coy was a recipient of a London Artists’ Film and Video Award.
Siobhan Davies Dance offers artists space, resources and time to explore how their work can be tempered by the activities of our building. We commission work from artists across a variety of fields and offer them a platform to share their work through a programme of exhibitions and talks.
Founded and led since 1988 by pioneering choreographer Siobhan Davies, Siobhan Davies Dance has evolved over the years from a touring dance company in to an investigative contemporary arts organisation. The completion of our Studios in 2006 kick-started an explosion of activity allowing us to support the making of far more work. Exploring choreography and movement is very much at the heart of everything we do. So whilst we now apply choreography across a wide range of creative disciplines including visual arts, film and craft, we continue to hold our dance roots close.
Moving Images Phil Coy Siobhan Davies Studios, London SE1 Exhibition 26 April – 2 June 2013 Admission free