30 January 2010 to Sunday, 28 March 2010
Like Love Parts One & Two
Sonia Boyce, pioneer in the Black British cultural renaissance of the 1980s returns to the Bluecoat 25 years after first exhibiting here with new work Like Love Parts One & Two including a collaboration with Blue Room and Action her selection of emerging artists Beverley Bennett, Appau Boayke-Yiadom, Robin Deacon and Grace Ndiritu.
Artistic Director at the Bluecoat, Bryan Biggs said: “It’s great to have Sonia back at the Bluecoat 25 years after her first exhibition here, Black Skin/Bluecoat. And we are delighted that our Blue Room participants have had the opportunity to work with an artist of her calibre. The end result promises to be an exciting, collaborative piece of art.”
Sonia said: “I am no longer the central attention in the work I make. Increasingly over the past decade, I have involved the participation of other people. I usually ask them to perform for me and use their responses as the basis for the artworks. Like Love is about my engagement with two communities: a school for young parents in Bristol, and an art group that meets weekly at the Bluecoat consisting of adults with learning difficulties and their carers. In both instances I have used their words and their actions.
“The Action exhibition I am curating allows me to explore my own concerns about the depictions of performative actions in art. And with the four artists I have chosen, the object of their attention is not on depicting themselves.
“For example, Beverley Bennett’s subtle artworks become evidence of her interaction with the medium of drawing and then the audience becomes witness.”
Grace Ndiritu’s films are also about presence and absence . In Journey’s North, we hear her throat singing whilst viewing breath-taking views of the North Pole. Pointing the camera north, south, east and west, the artist is pivotal, yet unseen.
Robin Deacon visited New York to find out more about the work of Stuart Sherman, a Jewish, gay, 1970s artist, whose performances consisted of engaging with everyday objects. These formalist actions were a formative influence on Deacon, to such an extent that he has been re-constructing them as part of his work.
Finally, Appau Boayke-Yiadom’s sculptural installations and films are witty and elegant portrayals of objects performing. Yet quietly, under the surface of these highly formal exercises, lie references to black culture – wooden carvings and rolling watermelons, suggesting that the ‘Afro Modern’ is complex, alive and kicking.