7 October to 8 December 2019
Boundary + Gesture, curated by Taylor Le Melle, featured works by Aslan Ġoisum, Derica Shields, a major new commission by Dominique White, and publications from PSS.
As part of our 30th birthday programme, Le Melle developed the exhibition during their Art Fund supported residency at Wysing earlier in 2019 during which they convened a series of public events that explored notions of property and monetisation.
Boundary + Gesture presents works that situate explorations of gesture and property within landscapes of ‘the rural’. Developed as exhibition-as-research, this experimental exhibition format brings art works in conversation with archival material and texts.
A new commission by UK artist Dominique White encompasses the entirety of Wysing’s gallery and responds to research on Black subjectivity, shipwreck and the Sargasso Sea, navigating a dialogue between the body and material. Repurposing sails, combining fabrics with kaolin clay and galvanised steel, a haunting, a wake of sorts channel the aquatic landscape as a site of possibilities, and a way of "escaping the body and destroying what was held captive".
Aslan Ġoisum’s video works Volga, 2015, and Scythian Journey, 2019, are presented in separate screening rooms, and consider the idea of testimony as well as proprietary law in relation to intimate and state histories of forced migration.
In Wysing’s reception, a polyvocal work by writer and researcher Derica Shields uses archival material surrounding 18th century court cases to create speculative histories. Reconfiguring museum display through sound, Shields presents three fraying, divergent oral fictions that examine property law as debated and lived during what is called Britain’s era of abolition.
PSS, Le Melle’s publishing project with editor/researcher Rowan Powell presents three new pamphlets that further expand on ideas within the exhibition. Rowan Powell presents a new text that links the history of land enclosures in Britain with a story recorded by French surgeon Ambroise Pare in his 1573 text On Monsters and Marvels. A joint new text by Le Melle and artist Aslan Ġoisum frames his works in the context of global colonial histories. Using Le Melle’s preferred methodology of foraging existing content, the final text will excerpt writer, curator and artist, Imani Robinson’s essay and ongoing film project Black Testimony to accompany Dominique White’s new commission. Boundary and Gesture is supported by Arts Council England and Art Fund.
Video: Wilf Speller
Taylor Le Melle is a curator and writer. Recent writing has been featured in publications including: Sad Sack by Sophia al-Maria (Book Works); Che si può fare, Helen Cammock's exhibition catalogue (Whitechapel Gallery); Gender, Space (Macmillian) ed. Aimee Meredith Cox; as well as in periodicals such as Art Monthly and Flash Art. Taylor is a member of not/nowhere, an artist workers’ cooperative. Taylor was writer-in-residence at Jerwood Visual Arts in 2018 and curator-in-residence at Wysing Arts Centre in Spring 2019.
Aslan Ġoisum (Chechnya, 1991, lives in Grozny and Amsterdam) employs various artistic media – mainly the moving image, sculptural installation and paper-based techniques – that articulate the collective and individual upheaval marking the North Caucasus history. This inevitably entails analysis of the colonial legacy of the Russian Empire, in all its guises. Recent exhibitions include: Blood and Soil: Dark Arts for Dark Times, Contemporary Art Centre (Vilnius, LT, 2019); All That You See Here, Forget, Emalin (London, UK, 2018); How To Live Together, Kunsthalle Wien (Vienna, AT, 2017) and People of No Consequence, Museum of Contemporary Art (Antwerp, BE, 2016).
Rowan Powell is a writer, editor and PhD Candidate at University of California, Santa Cruz. Alongside Taylor Le Melle, Powell co-runs PSS, a publisher of printed material which has recently launched Daniella Valz Gen’s poetry chapbook Subversive Economies, Rehana Zaman’s Tongues and Victoria Sin’s Dream Babes 2.0.
Imani Robinson is a London-based writer, live art practitioner, plant lover and prison abolitionist. They are one half of Languid Hands, a curatorial project initiated with their Very Close Collaborator, Rabz Lansiquot. In 2019 Languid Hands presented two projects: Towards a Black Testimony at Jerwood, U.K. and Stroom, NL.; and away, completely: denigrate at Narrative Projects, U.K. Imani was a member of sorryyoufeeluncomfortable (SYFU) Collective 2015-18 and completed an MA in Forensic Architecture at the Centre for Research Architecture in 2019. Recent personal projects include: Ditto & Ditto Take a Trip to Port Authority, a moving image work made with Halima Haruna; WELCOME NOTE IN A WELCOME SPEECH, a collaborative performance with artist Libita Clayton; and The Black Drift, an ongoing series of workshops and performances exploring Black geographies and the psychic afterlives of transatlantic slavery. You can find some less academic and equally abstract writing by Imani in Dream Babes 2.0.
Dominique White (b. 1993, UK) weaves together the theories of Black Radical Thought with the nautical myths of Black Diaspora into a term she defines as the Shipwrecked; a reflexive verb and state of being. Her sculptures demonstrate how Black life could extend beyond its own subjective limits and act as beacons or vessels of an ignored civilisation defined as the Stateless; a realm in which the past, present and future have converged into a Black Future. White's research reaches back to the sound of Detroit's techno scene, where she continues to reference narratives (situated in space and underwater) depicted by Aux 88 (Tom Tom and Keith Tucker), DJ Stingray (Sherard Ingram) and Drexciya (Gerald Donald and James Stinson). Recent exhibitions and presentations include Abandon(ed) Vessel at Kevinspace [solo] (Vienna, 2019), a solo booth presented by VEDA at Art-O-Rama (Marseille, 2019), Fugitive of the State(less) [solo] at VEDA (Florence, 2019), Flood-tide, Love Unlimited (Glasgow, 2018); The Share of Opulence; Doubled; Fractional, Sophie Tappeiner (Vienna, 2018); °c, Clearview.ltd (London, 2018); The Conch (April), South London Gallery (London, 2018); Signs | Beacons, Caustic Coastal (Manchester, 2018). White was an artist-in-residence at Curva Blu (IT) June to July 2019.
Derica Shields is a writer and cultural worker from London. As part of a Triple Canopy commission, she is completing a multi-format oral history project centering on Black people's accounts of the UK welfare state. Bad Practice, her book project commissioned by Hannah Black is forthcoming from Book Works.