GATESHEAD.- BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
presents the first major solo show by British video-maker Elizabeth Price. The exhibition comprises of three works: Choir 2011, shown for the first time in its entirety, User Group Disco 2009 and the new West Hinder 2012.
Price creates dense and immersive video installations that bring together image, text and music in apocalyptic, phantasmagorical narratives. She uses existing bodies of historical material to generate fantasy stories, drawing upon archives of photography, film and collections of artefacts. In each work the narration, delivered through onscreen rolling text, is also derived from existing sources - information produced by corporations and public institutions along with texts from philosophical essays, advertising scripts and literary stories.
Choir 2011 is a trilogy of videos that draws on three very different archives of photography and digital film. Throughout the video, Price plays with the dual meaning of the title, which can refer to either an ensemble of singers or an area of a church. This word play evolves as the film moves between the space of the choir and the assembly of the chorus. The edit combines photographs and archival research of church architecture set against an intense soundtrack of distorted noise, singing, appropriated pop melodies and the sound of staccato handclaps. Together with archival material drawn from performances and news archives, the three sections combine to create a dissonant concert.
User Group Disco 2009 is set in the Hall of Sculptures, a fictional institutional building. Through a series of reveries and hallucinations a collection of redundant and kitsch consumer objects swirl in the darkness. Appearing like debris, these varied utensils and ornaments defy their categories of definition or their place in the museum. Through on-screen text and bold graphics, the narrators a hidden, collective voice gradually define a new space for the neglected objects to reside. The viewer is witness to an intense dance of objects and text, a visual collage, of juxtaposition, accumulation and sensory overload.
Human action is rarely featured directly in Prices work; the dramas are instead expressed via objects and soundtracks. Commodity culture and consumerism are reoccurring themes and are acknowledged as complex and determining expressions of human lives, social relationships and our collective ideas. Prices latest video, West Hinder 2012, explores these concerns through a ruined cargo - a containership of new, luxury cars, at the bottom of the sea. For this video Price has worked with composer and musician Brian Rietzell, who created the BAFTA nominated soundtrack for Lost in Translation. The video guides a descent to the site of a shipwreck, a location made visible using degraded and saturated video accompanied by a soundtrack of distorted electronic noise. The narration, delivered by a chorus of synthetic voices, expresses the lost cargo as a collective will: a repressed, psychic force, emanating from the deep.
ELIZABETH PRICE, born 1966 in Bradford, lives and works in London. Solo presentations include, Choir, New Museum Theater, New York and also at Chisenhale Gallery, London as part of the Interim Program 2011. Perfect Courses and Glistening Obstacles, Tate Britain, London; User Group Disco, Pavilion Leeds and Whitechapel Gallery London (screening) in 2010. User Group Disco, Spike Island Bristol 2009. O Fontana, MOT International, London and At the House of Mr X, British Film Institute, London (screening) in 2008.
Group shows include the British Art Show 7 In the Days of the Comet, Nottingham Contemporary, Hayward Gallery London and tour and Archivo-Archivanti, Intermediae Madrid in 2011. Frieze Projects, Frieze Art Fair, London, Stuttgart Filmwinter, Filmaus Stuttgart and Gotenberg International Film Festival Draken Cinema Gothenberg, 2010. Strange Events Permit Themselves The Luxury of Occurring, Camden Arts Centre, London and One Brief Moment, Apex Art New York in 2008.