Members' Show 2015 selected by:
Kate Owens | Rita Evans | Paul Purgas | Guy Oliver | Maria de Lima
5 - 29 November 2015
Nik Void was born in Norwich.
She currently lives and works in Norfolk and Manchester.
A conversation between Alice Lee and Nik Void.
Alice Lee: As a live artist who has performed in clubs, warehouses, and galleries, it is too obvious to suggest that your concept of role-reversal is directly linked to your role as a selector, and essentially curator, for this exhibition? Or does the concept represent something else?
Nik Void: I consistently bring my world into the gallery space. I think the role-reversal comes out of being a musician who has performed generally site specific electronic music in galleries and museums like the ICA, Barbican, Serpentine and Brussels Bozar. When going through the selection process I focused on work that I felt had an emotional connection with performance and the performer.
AL: There’s quite a participatory aspect to this exhibition.
NV: I like the idea of inviting the audience in. By experiencing Rita Evans' Sonic Knitting Needles the work links the audience to the emotive element experienced with improvisation and participation. With live music the audience participation is usually more restricted to their own space. The needles are adapted with contact mics to produce sound, the participant can hear the motion through headphones. I think listening through headphones is important to have in a space like a gallery because it’s encourages a personal and private experience.
AL: There are some surprises in this selection! What drew you to some of the other works? Kate Owens’ collection of soaps for example, for me isn’t something I would have expected you to select.
NV: There are eighteen soaps that are the result of a ‘hands-on’ process. She’s used her hands with paint to work the soaps then placed them on a purpose built shelve. Repetition has reference to electronic music which is obvious but the recording of the moment connects with the emotive sensibility of an event. The placement of the personalised ready made objects platformed within a gallery space excludes any further temptation to change their existence, a residue of her action is left uncleaned on the surface. This resonates with performance being immediate and live, you can’t go back and change what is performed in front of an audience or on live recording.
AL: And coincidently Paul Purgas’ work includes hands too.
NV: Like Kate’s, it has a faint smell produced by oil. There’s a smell that you becomes familiar as a performer. You’ll go into a space which is empty and you are hit by the smell of a space once occupied by movement of bodies. It’s an interesting thing and I wanted to include a sense that occupies its own space in some way.
AL: How about Guy Oliver’s video?
NV: When I watched his video I wasn’t sure if he had found footage or if he produced it himself. Later he told me he had shot it himself. I liked the idea that he platformed a normal event, and amplifying it to highlight masculinity. The result is comedic but at the same time kind of beautiful. It also brings up the issue of what is considered performance.
AL: There are commentaries on gender, sensationalism and performance, like you’ve mentioned, that you can read into this show. Overall it feels like an all round sensory experience. But it’s not overloaded. It’s quite meditative.
NV: Maria de Lima’s island that rotates slowly emulates that feeling of repetition and meditative state really well. The film is a lush visual, deep red with blue, identifying with where she comes from, suggesting a slow motion moving from one piece to another. The layout of the exhibition I purposely kept minimal, I wanted there to be space to think, I used waist height tables as platforms that also play a part in electronic performance as a tool. I used headphones to create a private space within a public space, I used lighting in a subtle way to highlight the work as if on a stage, i chose work that had a smell, a touch and sound linking to our senses. I wanted an exhibition that was best to experienced alone - the sound is low, the smell is slight the layout can sometimes encourage participation.