New Art Exchange, Nottingham, United Kingdom 19 Oct 2020 - 13 Dec 2020
Phoebe Boswell, Mutumia, 2016 on view at the Goteborgs Konsthall, Sweden. Images by Hendrik Zeitler. Image courtesy of the artist and Göteborgs Konsthall
NAE presents Here, an exhibition by the award-winning artist, Phoebe Boswell. The exhibition brings together new and existing artworks, some of which have not been seen in the UK before. It includes the critically acclaimed installation, Mutumia (2016); I am (2020), a gallery version of P L A T F O R M (2020), a moving image installation of filmed portraits currently showing on 30m wide screens at the Lancy-Bachet train station in Geneva; the sculptural drawing, Transit Terminal (2014-2020), the large-scale video installation, I Dream of a Home I Cannot Know (2019) and site-specific hand drawings by the artist.
Boswell’s work explores what it means to belong and to be free. Owing to a personal history rooted in colonial traces and contradictory legacies – upheavals, dualities, geographies, kinships, liberations, silences, and shifts of migration – Phoebe describes her work as a navigation of the space between, anchored to what she refers to as a “restless state of diasporic consciousness.”
Combining draftswomanship and digital technology, she creates immersive installations and bodies of work which layer drawing, animation, sound, video, and interactivity in an effort to find language and make space robust yet open and multifaceted enough to house, centre, and celebrate the nuance and complexity of communities, voices, hearts, and histories which, like her own, are often systemically marginalised, simplified, pacified, homogenised, or side-lined as ‘other’.
The immersive installation Mutumia (2016), combines hand-drawn animation, digital technology, interactivity and voice recordings of women from different backgrounds, nationalities and generations. It is dedicated to women who have used their bodies in protest when not allowed to use their voices. This is the first time it has been seen in the UK. Phoebe Boswell was awarded the prestigious Future Generation Prize’s Special Prize for this artwork in 2017.
Transit Terminal (2014 – 2020) is a sculptural drawing of twelve charcoal figures, each occupying a purpose-built box which is at once totemic as well as being the same dimensions of an average adult coffin turned upright. The installation addresses global migration and notions of (un-)freedom and uprootedness. The figures, on the backs of the boxes, with their backs to us, seemingly in limbo between here and an unknown destination, are juxtaposed with an internal flock of chalky migratory birds in flight drawn into the interior of each box. The artist will extend this bird migration onto the architectural surface wall of NAE in the lead up to the show.
Adapted to nestle into NAE’s interior, I Dream of a Home I Cannot Know (2019) is a largescale video work. Captured from the same place on the same beach over the course of six years, it documents the quotidian life on a stretch of East African beach – a place of deep emotional connection for Boswell; the closest place the artist could consider to be ‘home’, but a place that, like the tide, is impossible for her to hold.
Boswell’s first public outdoor artwork, P L A T F O R M (2020), was recently unveiled at Lancy-Bachet Railway Station in Geneva. I am (2020), a gallery version of this monumental work, will be shared at New Art Exchange. The stop-motion portrait project asked the global public to send in self-authored photographs and to complete the sentence “I am…”. Boswell then endeavoured, through drawing, to see each person as they are, until they slowly began to blink, look around, and come to life. The original artwork was commissioned and produced by the Fonds cantonal d’art contemporain, Geneva, for the Mire Program.
Here has been curated by New Art Exchange in dialogue with Boswell’s 2018 solo exhibition at Göteborgs Konsthall in Sweden.
New Art Exchange
39 – 41 Gregory Boulevard
Nottingham, NG7 6BE