LONDON.- In her largest exhibition to date, British artist Beatrice Gibson presents two new, interconnected films and an expanded public programme featuring the artists, poets, musicians and wider community with whom the films have been made.
The crone is a stock character in folklore and fairy tale. An archetype, a wise old woman - she is often disagreeable, malicious, or sinister, but also magical and supernatural, with associations that can make her helpful or obstructing. Taking American composer Pauline Oliveros album Crone Music (1990) for its title, this exhibition represents a significant shift in Gibsons work, one which sees the artist seeking out an explicitly feminist lineage through which to recast the syncretic, collective and participatory nature of her practice.
The first film I Hope Im Loud When Im Dead explores poetry and disobedience. The title comes from a poem by CAConrad and begins as a portrait of Conrad and Eileen Myles, two of the USAs most significant living poets. The work was filmed on the eve of the 45th presidential inauguration in January 2017 and Gibson continued to shoot through the following year in America and Europe, weaving together CAConrad and Myles words with those of fellow poets Audre Lorde, Alice Notley, and Adrienne Rich, alongside intimate moments with her family. Accompanied by a Pauline Oliveros soundtrack, the film is a deeply personal work, one which seeks out the power of ritual, casting the poet as a prophet navigating an alternative path in times of perilous authority.
Made as a companion piece, the second film Deux Soeurs Qui Ne Sont Pas Soeurs (Two Sisters who aren't Sisters) is based on Gertrude Steins eponymously named screenplay, written in 1929 as European fascism was building momentum. Gibsons adaptation, set almost a century later in contemporary Paris, deploys Steins script as a talismanic guide through a contemporary moment of comparable social and political unrest.
Here, Gibson explores feminism not only as subject matter, but as method, casting as the films characters a close network of friends and practitioners, alongside others who have supported or influenced Gibsons life and work. Both a fictional thriller and an act of collective representation, Deux Soeurs proposes empathy and friendship as means to reckon with an increasingly turbulent present. An original soundtrack, written especially for the film by British composer Laurence Crane, responds the repetition, duplication and duality at play in Steins script.
Alongside the films, Crone Music will present an expanded programme of readings, screenings, performances, talks, workshops, meetings and residencies led by the films participants and hosted within the Gallery 3 at Camden Arts Centre. Rooted in feminist and queer discourse, these will include a Radical Reading Sit-In with Eileen Myles; one-toone Personalised (Soma)tic Poetry Rituals with CAConrad; a special performance by Thurston Moore and a week of experimental music composition and concerts with Laurence Crane, drawing on the work of Pauline Oliverios.
The Gallery 3 space will also host a screening programme curated by Gibson of moving image works by filmmakers, friends and cohorts from whom Gibson has drawn inspiration, including Basma Alsharif, Mary Helena Clark, Ana Vaz, Ben Rivers, Public Access Poetry, Kenneth Anger, Leslie Thornton, and others.
Devised by Gibson, alongside architect Dominic Cullinan, the space has been designed to reflect the artists production ethos. Just as Gibson called upon friends and extended communities to help make her films, Camden Arts Centre will borrow furniture and other items requested by the films participants from a network of local partners and peers. In doing so, the institution closely mirrors the production aesthetic of the work housed within it, calling on its friends and neighbours to help furnish the space.
Working at the intersection of art, feminism, expanded cinema, experimental literature and film, Crone Music explores friendship, feeling, empathy and solidarity as tools for individual and collective agency in an ever more unsettled world.
Beatrice Gibson (b.1978) is an artist and filmmaker based in London. Her films are often improvised in nature, exploring the pull between chaos and control in the process of their own making. Drawing on figures from experimental modernist composition and literature - such as Cornelius Cardew, Robert Ashley and William Gaddis Gibsons films are often participatory, incorporating co-creative and collaborative processes and ideas.
Gibson is twice winner of The Tiger Award for best short film at the Rotterdam International Film Festival and winner of the 2015 Baloise Art Prize , Art Basel. In 2013 she was nominated for both the Jarman Award for Artists Film and The Max Mara Whitechapel Prize for Women artists. Gibson's films are distributed by LUX, London and Argos, Brussels. She is represented by Laura Bartlett Gallery.
Both films in the exhibition are co-commissioned by Camden Arts Center, London; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Bergen Kunsthall in partnership with Borealis - en festival for eksperimentell musikk, Bergen; and Mercer Union, Toronto, in partnership with Images Festival.