If They Be Two addresses a time in two artists’ lives as they pause to reflect on their bodies, their experiences with and without lovers, and their relationship as friends. Presented as a two channel looped video installation, the work depicts the artists’ individual unclothed bodies as they film each other at home, touching each other with only the gaze of their cameras.
The title of the exhibition is taken from John Donne’s poem A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning (1612) which reimagines the relationship between two bodies in romantic love. Designed to soothe the rupture of being separated, Donne persuades his lover that they are not two but rather one body that when apart, merely becomes greater, occupying the expanding space between them. Donne’s examination of feelings between bodies, physical contact and distanced communication is a starting point for this new work.
If They Be Two is in turn inspired by the moving image work of Paul Sharits and Carolee Schneemann, the photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe and Phyllis Christopher and the biomorphic paintings and sculptures of Paule Vézelay. However, If They Be Two is not a nostalgic work, but instead, an attempt to make personal the subjects these precedents address, shifting focus to the artists’ own searches to fulfill sexual and romantic desire, and how these experiences are lived out in their current technological and cultural landscapes. How is it possible to communicate these feelings, represent these energies or portray these experiences
Designed to be shown in an expanded form, the work is presented as two overlapping projected images, allowing encounters between bodies, colours and forms.
Image: Kim Coleman, If They Be Two (after Paule Vézelay) (2018)
colour photogram, 10” x 12”
SCREENING EVENT / MONDAY 9 JULY 2018
The artists present an evening screening of two video works
addressing co-authorship and love.
Love Tapes (1977-2001) 1hr 30’, Wendy Clarke
Wendy Clarke’s Love Tapes were a participatory project where the artist recorded members of the public talking about their feelings towards love. Over 2,500 tapes were made across the world, illustrating the vast interpretations, variations, and memories prompted by the word ‘love’. In the work video operates both as an apparatus for intimacy and facilitator for self-examination. The breathtaking scope of responses reveals a rare glimpse of humanity communing through shared experience.
Nun and Deviant (1976) 10’, Nancy Angelo and Candace Compton
In Nun and Deviant the performers come to happier terms with their identities both as women and as artists. As Angelo and Compton don and dismantle stereotypical guises before the camera/viewer, Nun and Deviant explores how repressive representations circulating in our culture are formulated as opposites such as Madonna-whore (nun-deviant)—clichés that force women to assume restrictive, paradoxical roles. The work is a classic example of feminist performance video of the 1970s, which often incorporated autobiography, expansion of self through personae, and assertions of a new identity for women.
The videos were were selected by Kim Coleman as part her recent research trip to the Long Beach Video Artist Archives at the Getty (LA) (March 2018) and recent conversations with artist Wendy Clarke.
Popcorn and drinks will be served.
Kim Coleman (UK) is an artist working predominantly in expanded moving image, light and camera-less photography. Solo and collaborative works have been staged at Tate Britain, The Institute of Contemporary Art, London, The Showroom, The Athens Biennale, Jerwood Visual Arts, Serpentine Screen, Minneapolis Film Festival, Block Universe, Edinburgh Art Festival, Glasgow International and Frieze Projects for Frieze London. Recent projects include Aphelion Slip with Cara Tolmie and Zoë Poluch, Block Universe, London (2017); Polarised with Laura Buckley, Block 336, London (2016) and Winter Sun a temporary public work commission for Kings Cross Granary Square (2015). In autumn 2018 Kim will begin an AHRC funded practice-based PhD at Reading School of Art. kimcolemanprojects.com
Susie Green (UK) works predominantly in painting, performance and sculpture. Recent solo exhibitions include Jerwood Solo Presentations, Jerwood Visual Arts, London (2018); Interior Report, Workplace Gallery, Gateshead (2017) and Pleasure is a Weapon, Grand Union, Birmingham (2017). Selected group exhibitions and performances include Exhibition of a Dream, Gulbenkian, Paris (2017); A Room of Our Own, MIMA, Middlesbrough (2017); Dwarling, My Darling, Oude Kerk, Amsterdam (2016); All Out of Love, Tate St Ives (2016); End Cycle, Flat Time House, London (2016) and Fluid Medium, Spike Island, Bristol (2016). Alongside collaborating with Kim Coleman, Susie collaborates with artists Rory Pilgrim (The Brilliant State) and Simon Bayliss (Splash Addict). susiegreen.co.uk
Sound co-produced and edited by the artists and Simon Bayliss.
Video edited by the artists with additional editing by Hazel Baillie.
Thank you to Lisa Cradduck and Phill Wilson-Perkin, David Hoyland/Seventeen, J Hammond Projects and Wendy Clarke.
This project is supported by The Elephant Trust and Arts Council England