Void Gallery is delighted to present CHOREOGRAPH, the first solo exhibition of Elizabeth Price in Northern Ireland. Price’s distinctive film works inhabit the digital world using computer animated voices, graphics and a saturated videography that give the works a dystopic sensibility, exploring the human experience from industrialisation to the digital age.
The films are anthropological, often exploring mundane objects and imbuing them with a relevance, and situating them within an historical moment.
Emerging from this period of lockdown, where technology became our means of connection to the world, Price’s work embodies this notion of the cognitive harmony between the body and the machine. The title CHOREOGRAPH, a term derived from the Greek words: dance (chorus) and to write (graphy) is a reference to how the multi-screen works synchronise in the space aligning with the rhythms of the music, dance and writing and narrative that unfolds in the pieces.
THE TEACHERS (2019) is part of the trilogy SLOW DANS, the storyline follows a dystopian future where a contagion has spread rapidly through the establishment. The affected, THE TEACHERS communicate in the work through wearing elaborate costumes and perform absurd and profane rituals. The four narrators dispute the reasons for their continuing silence, it could be viewed as a silent protest. The disembodied figures reflect a Rorschach folding and unfolding reminiscent of a book page turning. The four-screen projection is choreographed visually to mimic a ritualistic form of movement. This piece alludes to the corporate structures or the ‘executive realm’ whose decisions affect the access to higher education which resonates with the current proposed funding cuts to art education.
With FOOTNOTES (2020), the four chapters Stiletto, Supertunica, Coal and Inky Spit follow the etymological exploration of cultural and technical histories. The single screen works were made during the period of lockdown, mining material from the internet and utilising hand-built sets, and recorded in total darkness, using infra-red light. The Inky Spit is a reference to the black lung often a physical manifestation to working in coal mines. The significance of the lungs could echo events in the last year with the utterance of George Floyd’s last words, “I can’t breathe’, which became a mantra for the Black Lives Matter movement and the respiratory virus that has led to mass deaths across the world from a lack of oxygen.
Price’s work operates within the digital realm and material culture. She explores occluded histories while critiquing vernacular language and technological innovation.
Her works reflect our anxiety of the automating of our identities through technology, the collection of user behaviour data to learn how to predict and shape our ideas and lives. As we enter this new historical moment there is a sense of the unknown of what our new reality will bring, and the significant role technology will play.
Elizabeth Price was born in Bradford, Yorkshire in 1966. She grew up in Luton, Bedfordshire and attended Putteridge Comprehensive Secondary School. She studied at the Royal College of Art, London and the University of Leeds.
Price creates short videos which explore the social and political histories of artefacts, architectures and documents. The subject matter may sometimes be historic artworks of great cultural significance, it is more frequently marginal or derogated things, and often pop-cultural or mass produced objects. The video narrations’ draw upon and satirise the administrative vernaculars of relevant public and academic institutions as well as advertising copy and other texts of private and commercial organisations.
In 2012, she was awarded the Turner Prize for her video installation THE WOOLWORTHS CHOIR OF 1979. In 2013, she won the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award with the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museums, Oxford. She has exhibited in group exhibitions internationally, and has had solo exhibitions at Tate Britain, UK; Chicago Institute of Art, USA; Julia Stoschek Foundation, Dusseldorf and The Baltic, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK.
Price also works in academia, and is presently Professor of Film and Photography in the School of Art, Kingston University, UK.
Void Gallery is supported using public funding from Arts Council Northern Ireland, Department for Communities, The National Lottery Community Fund, Derry City and Strabane District Council, Enkalon Foundation, Ragdoll Foundation, COVID 19 Charities Fund, the Arts Society, Art Fund, and Garfield Weston Foundation.
Void Gallery is also a member of the PlusTate network.