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Art Brussels
Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86C, BE - 1000 Brussels, Belgium
April 24, 2014 - April 27, 2014

There Are Metaphors Everywhere: Heather Phillipson, Art Brussels SOLO Projects
by Heather Phillipson

Can art speak for itself? Heather Phillipson's voice is the deadpan monotone to hyper coloured installations and playfully bizarre videos: the ironic, non-plussed commentary to match the over-saturated, sardonic simulacra of our now everyday existence. Her voice accompanies us in the first-person, along with the sounds of dreamy love songs, navigating the open-ended narrative, through Freudian slips and homophones. For Phillipson, language is paramount; her other vocation, as a poet, confirms this. Her voice is the crucial element to the work, so ArtSlant asked her to select five of her works and talk us through them, either commenting on how the work was achieved technically, or what inspired it, or what she feels when she looks at it. Below she describes four shows and an event, as the videos/sculptures often come together and interact within the gallery installation. Even in these brief descriptions the cadence and parlance of the poet comes through. For Art Brussels, Phillipson will be exhibiting an HD video inside a sculptural environment in the SOLO section of the fair with Rowing, London—sure to be the most dynamic booth at the fair.


HD video inside sculptural environment
Art Brussels, with Rowing, 2014

'THE ORIGINAL EROGENOUS ZONE' (top image) is composed of a single-screen video, A Is to D What E Is to H, installed within an environment of hand-made sculptures. The environment is composed of objects and colours that seep out from the video (an odyssey between language and architecture, French kissing/French cuisine)—car parts, body-parts, bath tubs, foodstuffs, spud sacks, ball sacks, cardboard boxes, buckets, stuffed fabrics, cutlery, household tools and garden furniture. Like stepping inside a poem, the show constructs a 'grammar' of objects and images—elements are severed and re-deployed, shrunk and distended: there are metaphors everywhere.


2. immediately and for a short time balloons weapons too-tight clothing worries of all kinds
HD video inside sculptural environment
Bunker259, New York, 2014

Heather Phillipson, immediately and for a short time balloons weapons too-tight clothing worries of all kinds, installation view, Bunker259, New York, 2014; Courtesy the artist and Bunker259


Conceived as a one-to-one encounter, a single-screen video is suspended from an engine hoist and viewed from inside a birthing pool. Entered through a painted shower-curtain orifice, and decorated with coiled cables, bulging laundry bags, thrusting toilet roll holders and whirlpool paintwork, the gallery is both bedroom and wet-room—sex, dirt, the turn-on and the rinse-off.


3. through the flesh-tone scenario, the imported combi-boudoir
HD video inside sculptural environment
Zabludowicz Collection, London, 2013


Heather Phillipson, through the flesh-tone scenario, the imported combi-boudoir, installation view, Zabludowicz Collection, London, 2013; image courtesy the artist and Tim Bowditch.


Playing off the gallery's architecture, and mimicking the composition, structure and textures of the video installed within it, the environment becomes a series of painted and free-standing surfaces, windows, exaggerated underwear, furniture obstructions and peep-holes. Like the video, the place is saturated—flesh-pinks, wet blues, what's behind you, what's around the corner.


4 yes, surprising is existence in the post-vegetal cosmorama
HD videos inside sculptural environments
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, 2013


Heather Phillipson, yes, surprising is existence in the post-vegetal cosmorama, installation view, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, 2013; image courtesy the artist and Colin Davison.



A series of arrivals and departures, three videos are installed inside three custom-made sculptural viewing areas—entering through the gallery's rear-end, exiting it through a giant vagina, sailing into a mouth on a speedboat propped up on water bottles, and travelling to France inside a painted car on a blood-stained floor.


HD video with live voice, event
Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2012

Heather Phillipson, PRESSURIZATION live at Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2012; Courtesy the artist and Whitechapel Gallery


Proposing the gallery space as both cabin and head, the room is a box—the high-speed container—and the audience its immobile passengers. Shot in POV, from the perspective of an aeroplane captain, a dangerous cyclist, a rollercoaster and a compulsive exerciser, the artist's body, projected onto [it], becomes part of the video—in non-stop movement. The screen is the window and the retina. ‘PRESSURIZATION’ adopts the tropes of non-stop flight, minus the interesting destination. Authority, velocity, vistas and body-parts: where are my crisps, where are we going?


(Image on top: Heather Phillipson,THE ORIGINAL EROGENOUS ZONE, artist's sketch, image courtesy the artist.)

Posted by Heather Phillipson on 4/22/14 | tags: video-art installation sculpture art fairs poetry Art Brussels voice

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