A Song Cycle for the Ruins of a Psychiatric Unit

Louisa Fairclough's exhibition presents new film and audio works that take the remains of a psychiatric hospital as a metaphor for psychic ruin.

at Danielle Arnaud

A Song Cycle for the Ruins of a Psychiatric Unit is Louisa Fairclough’s third exhibition at Danielle Arnaud Gallery. It features a new expanded film installation and audio work, and takes the remains of a psychiatric hospital on the edge of a city as a simulacrum for psychic ruin.

Fairclough worked with composer Richard Glover to devise a series of compositions for voice and tape loop that were performed by singer Samuel Middleton and musician George McKenzie. Each piece was recorded as a ritual for one of the rooms at the former-hospital.

FEAR LIFE DEATH HOPE (2017) took as its starting point a found drawing from a sketchbook by the artist’s deceased sister which sampled words from an artwork by Gilbert & George. Interpreting the drawing as a sonic score, Samuel Middleton sung the words as glissandi in a derelict building on the site of the hospital, the words recorded layer upon layer as a composite on a series of tape loops. The recording materialises within the gallery as lengths of 16mm film that rise from four projectors creating a spatial and sonic drawing. Vocal harmonies emit from the bodies of the projectors, but the lamps cast no light—the film having been exposed with no image.

The audio work, A Rose (2017) was recorded in another building on the site, entangled in vegetation and open to the elements. An upturned shelving unit in the remains of the room provided a platform onto which a lament was performed. The repetition of a cluster of words creates a harmony in an evolving composite on a tape loop. The sound recording captures the song resonating through the space along with the incidental sounds of the environment. The end words—erase, erase, erase—arise above the rest.

Louisa Fairclough is an artist based in Bristol. Herpractice takes the form of film loops, performances, field recordings and drawings.

Friday 24 November, 9pm-12am: In conjunction with the exhibition Fairclough will present the performance VOICE IMAGES, a collaboration with composer Richard Glover at the Swiss Church in London. Part of Being and Appearing, a programme of contemporary art curated for the Swiss Church by Kirsty White.

Saturday 9 December: Fairclough and Glover will present a live tape loop and reel-to-reel performanceon the last day of the exhibition, performed by Samuel Middleton and George McKenzie.

Danielle Arnaud

Opening Times
Preview: Friday 17 November, 6-9pm

18 November - 9 December 2017
Thursday to Saturday, 2-6pm

Where
Danielle Arnaud
123 Kennington Road
London
SE11 6SF