Iniva at Rivington Place presents Sonia Boyce Scat: Sound and Collaboration

. June 1, 2013

Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) at Rivington Place presents Sonia Boyce Scat: Sound and Collaboration an exhibition on view 5 June–27 July 2013.

The acclaimed artist Sonia Boyce is collaborating with Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) by occupying a series of different spaces for her solo exhibition in which she explores her interest in sound. Presented across the two exhibition spaces in Rivington Place as well as Iniva’s Stuart Hall Library and its Learning Space, Scat: Sound and Collaboration centres upon the significance of sound in art and brings together two immersive video works for the first time.

In For you, only you (2007), Boyce orchestrates an unlikely meeting between an Early Music consort, Alamire, and a contemporary sound artist, Mikhail Karikis. Boyce’s video captures the performance of Karikis’s sound-work, which in turn imagines an encounter between his fractured vocalisations and a deconstructed Renaissance masterpiece—Tu solus qui facis mirabilia (You alone can do wonders) by the Franco-Flemish composer Josquin Desprez. While challenging the boundaries between noise and music, For you, only you interrogates notions of harmony and dissonance, conformity and difference.

Oh Adelaide (2010), a collaborative work by Sonia Boyce and sound artist Ain Bailey, incorporates found film footage of the jazz singer and entertainer, Adelaide Hall (1901–1993). As Boyce says, ‘Oh Adelaide is a digital mash-up where vision and sound sit awkwardly side by side. I decided to treat this digital footage as something elastic. Light and dazzling whiteness becomes the material presence that reveals and threatens to obliterate everything in its path, which Adelaide Hall and her accompanying pianist emerge and disappear within. As the audience, we’re urged to fight to keep track of her—to capture her.’

This question of playing with history is a recurring theme in Boyce’s work. Combined with the title’s emphasis on dispersal, the works presented in Scat have a visceral effect and impact on the visitor’s sense of time and place, and encourage them to reflect on the significance of sound in different settings.

The video works are presented alongside The Devotional Collection, Boyce’s archive of CDs, cassettes, vinyl records and other ephemera. This is a collective memorialisation of black British women in the music industry that Boyce has been developing, through the involvement of a wide range of participants, since 1999. As a result, the exhibition places a spotlight on her interest in the archive as arts practice. ‘Just the very act of putting something in an archive suggests its future use is beyond the control of the past. But we don’t have to settle for the past as it is presented. The past is not fixed.’

The Devotional Collection includes The Devotional Wallpaper (2008–), a work in which Boyce sets out a roll call of 200 female luminaries, memorialised as a large-scale printed wallpaper. As she says, ‘Many of the named performers would probably hate being collected under that rubric. The act of collecting is not on their behalf, it’s not to represent them. It’s really about an unplanned way that a diverse range of public listeners have built a collective memory.’

Sonia Boyce has had a long-standing relationship with Iniva. Indeed, an artist residency sponsored by Iniva in 1997 kickstarted the particular focus on sound that we see in her work today. Initially an image-maker and painter, more recently Boyce has become increasingly involved in collaborative practice.

For you, only you was commissioned by the Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art in partnership with the De La Warr Pavilion, Locus+, Milton Keynes Gallery and Model Arts and Niland Gallery and with the support of Arts Council England.

Iniva at Rivington Place
London EC2A 3BA
www.iniva.org

Category: Museum News

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