"A Solitary Occupation" by Leah Lovett
Private View: Thursday 09 December 2010, at 18.30pm
“He wondered if he had it in him to write without a pen, if he could learn to speak instead, filling the darkness with his voice, speaking the words into the air, into the walls, into the city ...”
Paul Auster, City of Glass.
Studio 106 Art Gallery is delighted to announce the first solo exhibition of artist and writer Leah Lovett.
Leah Lovett’s work often consists in constructing spectacles of the urban realm; working across a range of disciplines, her practice has two complementary parts which are interconnected and mutually feed off and inform one another.
Lovett devises performances that are often acted out by others and which can be imperceptible to her audiences, and recorded with a camera. The resulting works highlights the artist’s occupation of different types of urban space explore and restage dramas of power and agency staged within the city.
The works presented here relate to the notion of territory, and in particular the cross over between theatrical display and the display of power. Temporality – which is likewise central to Lovett’s process of working – is explored formally through sequences, and repetition of patterns, capturing lightly, visible changes.
It is intended that the act of standing with the camera is first and foremost a performance - a visible, durational occupation of a public space within which the camera acted simultaneously as frame and framing device; the videographic and photographic body of works interestingly mirror the invisible presence of the photographer-performer. This is particularly striking with the series of photographs ‘Day Of Celebration, Site of Protest’, which depicts Lovett’s occupation of a symbolic space and time in Seoul. Standing for 12 hours in a cold winter day and capturing images of an empty scene, Lovett’s active presence re-enacts political actions, i.e. Korean crowds gathering to stand against USA interventionism on domestic governance in South Korea. Yet, Lovett is clearly less interested in re-creating an active act of protest per se and explores instead the idea of protest and occupation. Her hidden presence thus becomes overwhelming, whilst her camera witnesses a visual quietness, and the absence of anticipated movements of crowds.
A Solitary Occupation also features drawings, which both support and further the work as “a kind of conversation with [the artist’s] imagination, and often the first manifestation of [her] future performances”.
Leah Lovett lives and works in London. She has shown her work widely in the UK and internationally. Past exhibitions and projects include Sexuate Subjects, UCL (London 2010), Whitstable Biennale (2010), Testing Grounds, South Hill Park (Bracknell 2009), Bilateria, Five Hundred Dollars (London 2009), Body Parts III, Royal Scottish Academy (Edinburgh, 2007). Research and residencies include Lab39, Seoul, South Korea (2010), Duveen Travel Scholarship (Brazil, 2009).