Still taken from Oh Adelaide (2010) ©Sonia Boyce, courtesy the artist
Sonia Boyce's new exhibition Scat, presented by Iniva, brings together two immersive video works for the first time with The Devotional Collection, Boyce's archive and collective memorialisation of black British women in the music industry. As a result, the exhibition places a spotlight on her interest in the archive as arts practice. ‘Just the very act of putting something in an archive suggests its future use is beyond the control of the past. But we don't have to settle for the past as it is presented. The past is not fixed'.
This question of playing with history is a recurring thematic in Boyce's work. Combined with the title's emphasis on dispersal, the works presented in Scat have a visceral effect and impact on the visitor's sense of time and place, and will encourage them to reflect on the significance of sound in different settings.
The Devotional Collection, is an archive of CDs, cassettes, vinyl records and other ephemera relating to black British women in the music industry that Boyce has been developing, through the involvement of a wide range of participants, since 1999. It includes The Devotional Wallpaper (2008 -), a work in which Boyce sets out a roll-call of 200 female luminaries, memorialised as a large-scale printed wallpaper. As she says, ‘Many of the named performers would probably hate being collected under that rubric. The act of collecting is not on their behalf, it's not to represent them. It's really about an unplanned way that a diverse range of public listeners have built a collective memory.'
Oh Adelaide (2010), a collaborative work by Sonia Boyce and sound artist Ain Bailey, incorporates found film footage of the jazz singer and entertainer, Adelaide Hall (1901-1993). This video work is also symptomatic of the collective memorialisation in The Devotional Collection. As Boyce says, ‘Oh Adelaide is a digital mash up where vision and sound sit awkwardly side-by-side. I decided to treat this digital footage as something elastic. Light and dazzling whiteness becomes the material presence that reveals and threatens to obliterate everything in its path, which Adelaide Hall and her accompanying pianist emerge and disappear within. As the audience, we're urged to fight to keep track of her - to capture her.'
In For you, only you (2007), Boyce orchestrates an unlikely meeting between an Early Music consort, Alamire, and a contemporary sound artist, Mikhail Karikis. Boyce's video captures the performance of Karikis's sound-work, which in turn imagines an encounter between his fractured vocalisations and a deconstructed Renaissance masterpiece- Tu solus qui facis mirabilia/‘You alone can do wonders' by the Franco-Flemish composer Josquin Desprez. While challenging the boundaries between noise and music, For you, only you interrogates notions of harmony and dissonance, conformity and difference.
Sonia Boyce has had a long-standing relationship with Iniva. Indeed, an artist-residency sponsored by Iniva in 1997, kick-started the particular focus on sound that we see in her work today. Initially an image-maker and painter, more recently Boyce has become increasingly involved in collaborative practice. For you, only you was commissioned by the Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art in partnership with the De La Warr Pavilion, Locus+, Milton Keynes Gallery and Model Arts and Niland Gallery and with the support of Arts Council England.
Sonia Boyce is a British Afro-Caribbean artist, living and working in London. Her early work addresses issues of race, gender and contemporary urban experience expressed in large pastel drawings and photographic collages. Since the 1990s her work has shifted materially and conceptually to incorporate a variety of media that combines photographs, collages, films, prints, drawings, installation and sound. Increasingly, she works with other people to produce ‘improvisational collaborations', with recent work bringing the audience into sharper focus as an integral part of the artwork. By doing this Boyce demonstrates how cultural differences might be articulated, mediated, enjoyed.
Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) works at the intersection of society and politics. It engages with new ideas and emerging debates in the contemporary visual arts, reflecting in particular the diversity of contemporary society. We work with artists, curators, creative producers, writers and the public to explore the vitality of visual culture. Iniva is supported by Arts Council England.
About Rivington Place
Opened in 2007, Rivington Place is home to Iniva and Autograph ABP. Designed by architect David Adjaye OBE, this award winning building is dedicated to the display, debate and reflection of global diversity issues in the contemporary visual arts. An ongoing programme of exhibitions and events is presented by Iniva in the 2 project spaces and Iniva's Learning Space. It is also home to the Stuart Hall Library, Iniva's unique research library with specialist resources and collections about contemporary international visual art.
Exhibition listings Information
Exhibition: Scat - Sonia Boyce: Sound and Collaboration
Dates: 5 June - 27 July 2013
Venue: Rivington Place, London, EC2A 3BA
Rivington Place public opening hours:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 11am - 6pm
Late Thursdays: 11am - 9pm (last admission 8.30pm)
Saturday: 12noon - 6pm
Tubes: Old Street/Liverpool Street/Shoreditch High St
Rivington Place is fully accessible, for parking & wheelchair facilities call +44 (0)20 7749 1240
For high resolution images please contact:
Giulia Crossley, Communications
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7749 1246
Find out more
Full information about the exhibition and related events and activities
+44 (0)20 7729 9616