In this two-screen video installation Elizabeth Price brings together disparate elements – text, image, synthetic voice and a stark, percussive soundtrack – in a witty and emotional exploration of lamentation, commerce and labor. A ghostly stop-frame animation of the sun – created from thousands of glass plate slides taken between 1870 and 1948 – plays continuously on one of the two screens. On the other, a hypnotic CGI animation follows the production – the weaving, folding and packaging – of nylon stockings. Images of dancers and singers migrate between the two screens, seemingly responding to both the light of the sun, and the motion of the machinery.
Binding these visual elements together is a narrative composed by Price and attributed to the Krystals, a fictional group of ‘professional mourners’. The synthetic voice, created using text-to-voice technology, describes the group’s highly ritualized practice, and its cultural provenance.
This work extends Price’s interest in digital moving image as a medium for polyphonic composition. In K, as in all of her recent video works, the narration is ostensibly provided by a group. She draws on formal devices of multiple voices in music, theatre and literature, to convey the principle of overlapping, rather than unified subjectivities. The narratives are stranded rather than linear, and in K particularly, storytelling is used as an agile intermediary, binding the dissonant, apparently estranged elements of the visual composition into unlikely synchronicity.
K premiered in a solo presentation at ‘Unlimited’ Basel Art Fair 2015 and was subsequently exhibited in a solo show at The Model, Sligo in 2016. K was also presented in a group show, The Infinite Mix at the Hayward Gallery, London, curated by Ralph Rugoff in 2016, and exhibited in a group show The Bearable Lightness of Being at GRIMM, Amsterdam in 2017.
About the artist
Elizabeth Price (UK, 1966) studied at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford, UK and received her BA in Fine Art in 1988. She received her MA in Fine Art in 1991 at the Royal Collage of Art in London, UK. In 2012 Price was awarded with the Turner Prize and the Paul Hamlyn Award, and in 2016 she received the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award. Her work has been exhibited at Tate Britain, London (UK); New Museum, New York (US); The Baltic, Newcastle (UK); Contemporary Art Society, London (UK); Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf (DE); Kunsthalle Winterthur, Winterthur (CH); Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin (DE) and Hessel Museum of Bard, Hudson, NY (US). Upcoming museum exhibitions include the presentation of her work ‘A Restoration’ at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York (US) opening on October 5, 2017, a solo presentation at The Art Institute of Chicago (US), opening on October 11, 2017, a solo exhibition at The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (US) in 2018 as well as a solo exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary (UK).