13 June19 July 2008

Laura Bartlett Gallery is pleased to announce a two-person exhibition with Sophie Macpherson and Yael Davids – two artists sharing an interest in the performative site. The works explore ideas around the sculptural object within the realm of a theatrical landscape, the active and inert, and theatre as both an architectural space and encounter.

Sophie Macphersons’ works are located at the juncture between stillness and motion, her forms allude to a potential or impending event or something one might have just missed. Her sculptures, drawings and photographs presented together suggest interrelated narratives perhaps autobiographical or imaginative concepts. For this exhibition, Macpherson will present new work: A gloss-white partition divides the gallery space creating a corner, a temporary other space; a pair of black and white photographs record the impromptu action of a poised and shoe-ed foot before a screen; a sculptural relief in wood of a ruff or fan, titled Dancers, painted white, hints at an expressive theatrical turn while a mute cool concrete sculpture continues this pleated and classical motif, an inversion as a form found again in the drawing The Mountain Pleater, 2008.

Macphersons’ components imply the space and visual language of the stage. They have an unpolished aesthetic that allows the forms an element of the chancy – her objects although grouped to provoke a viewing in terms of spatial relationships, remain displaced, existing as prompts or cues.

The Ladies Utopian Band, 2008 is a drawing that resembles a prototype for a poster.

Macpherson’s work simultaneously presents the optimism that precedes a theatrical moment and the faded glamour of the redundant or aspiring.

‘The work exists for a moment. Afterwards, what is left is a void, an absence, an object that ‘has been’’ Yael Davids

Yael Davids is interested in the nature of theatre and the potentiality of expression. Davids’ often creates large scale constructions that act as barriers, stages, platforms, enclosures onto which groups of people perform the same action. Through this homogenized interaction with the performative site, Davids work reveals concepts of discord and redundancy, and tensions that arise between group, individual, people and space.  Davids does not directly document the live event, but instead gathers in a geological manner the evidence that allows us to imagine the performance, what may follow and, significantly, deals with emptiness that follows the lived moment.

Yael Davids will present work from A Line, a Word, a Sentence, a performance that has been shown in two phases and locations, first for the exhibition Memorial to The Iraq War at the ICA, London in 2007 and subsequently at the Playground Festival in Stuk, Leuven, Belgium. Davids will show in the gallery a grouping of the panels used in this performance as well as a slide projection, photographic documentation, drawings and a collage piece. A Line, a Word, a Sentence is a work that refers to notions of resistance and the boundaries of language. Performers placed their mouths against cut out sections of panels. On one side of the panels these mouths become isolated and abstract while one the other side the bodies of the performers holding this stance appear redundant and powerless.

David’s interest in the problems of language and communication are further addressed in the piece Learning to Talk, 2008 a collage composed of two sheets of paper hung in a positive/negative relationship. The text, cut out of the first sheet, is collaged onto the second. Within the text, Davids asks, “Can a language mutate, becoming a wall?”


Yael Davids (b. Jerusalem, 1968) lives and works in Amsterdam. Recent selected solo exhibitions include The Israeli Center of Digital Art, Holon (IS),  2007 and Galerie Akinci, Amsterdam, 2005.  ‘If I can’t dance…’, Den Bosch (NL) and Madrid. In the same year Davids participated in the Performance section of Venice Biennial. Yael Davids’s works  were recently exhibited in ‘Here We Dance’ at Tate Modern, London (2008), Palazzo Fortuny at Venice Biennale (2007), Reina Sofia (2003). Davids won the Prix Nouvelles Images (1999) and the Charlotte Köhler Award (1997).

Sophie Macpherson (b. Aylesbury, 1972) lives and works in Glasgow. Recent selected exhibitions include a solo exhibition at Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow 2005, Re-Make/ Re-Model, Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow, Working Things Out, Spike Island, Bristol, La Femme de Nulle Part, Doggerfisher, Edinburgh (2007), If Not Now, Broadway 1602, New York and The Glass Bead Game, Vilma Gold Project Space, Berlin (2006). Sophie Macpherson & Daria Martin, GSS, Glasgow (2004)