Sharon Hayes (b.1970 Baltimore, US) uses photography, film, video, sound and performance to examine the intersections between the personal and the political. Drawing particular attention to the language of twentieth-century protest groups; Hayes invites viewers and participants to re-experience moments of political and cultural oppression by staging protests, delivering speeches, and re-performing demonstrations.
For her commission at Studio Voltaire, her first in a UK institution, Hayes will look specifically at queer and feminist archives in the US and UK which document gay rights, and women’s liberation. Working with both the content and display of archives, Hayes will re-stage some of the most affective forms of presentation she has encountered.
Hayes will build a new large-scale installation that will completely bisect the gallery. The structure will reference hoarding and notice boards used as sites of communication for protest and action groups, upon which she will present a new 6-channel film.
Hayes will also create a large-scale wall drawing, based on content from newsletters and DIY magazines using reproduced and reconstructed posters, maps, calendars, prints and photographs. The artist is interested in the moments in which communities are built and ideas are shared through the action of reading.
Through these methods of enactment the artist is engaging in what she calls “speech acts", highlighting the friction between common activities and personal actions to examine how collective consciousness is built. The transformative power of language is discernable throughout the artist’s multi-disciplinary practice.
Hayes is interested in the limits of gender as well as the historic and contemporary ways in which feminist and queer political collectives continually expand and constrain gender expression. These new works will serve to interrogate the genealogy of our current moment in feminism and queer politics, paying particular attention to the persistent violence that attends women who claim attention in a public space.
The title of this new commission is derived from two sides of an Anita Bryant record (Side A: In My Little Corner of the World; Side B: Anyone Would Love You). Bryant, a US entertainer and Orange Juice spokesperson, became the leader of an anti-gay campaign in 1977 and was subsequently vilified by gay rights groups for doing so.
This exhibition forms part of How to work together and is co-commissioned with The Common Guild in Glasgow.
About the artist
Sharon Hayes (b. 1970 Baltimore, US) lives and works in Philadelphia. Recent solo exhibitions include: Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland (2015); Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York (2014); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2012); Museo Naconial Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2012); The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago (2011); Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2011). Recent group exhibitions include: Kunsthaus Hamburg (2015); MoMA P.S. 1, New York (2014); Hayward Gallery, London (2014); Wellcome Collection (2014); 10th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, Korea (2014) and 55th Venice Bienniale, Venice (2013). The artist is represented by Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin. This commission is supported by Charlotte Ford and The Sharon Hayes Supporters Circle.
About Studio Voltaire
For over twenty years, Studio Voltaire has championed emerging and underrepresented artists, offering an alternative and agenda-setting view of contemporary art.
Many of Studio Voltaire’s exhibitions are an artists’ first solo presentation in London, and invest in the production of new work that might not always be possible in commercial galleries or institutions, giving artists the chance to expand their practice, often working in residency in the gallery. Exhibiting artists have included Phyllida Barlow, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Nicole Eisenman, Jo Spence, Judith Bernstein, Ella Kruglyanskaya, Elizabeth Price, Henrik Olesen, Charlotte Prodger, Sanya Kantarovsky, Richard Slee and Cathy Wilkes.
Studio Voltaire’s programme is intergenerational, supporting both emerging artists and those who have been underrepresented in their career but deserve championing. This unique way of working allows Studio Voltaire to develop long-term relationships with artists, often working together on multiple occasions.
Exhibitions are free to all. Forthcoming projects and exhibitions in 2016 include: The Neo Naturists and Jamian Juliano-Villani.
Studio Voltaire, 1a Nelson’s Row, London SW4 7JR studiovoltaire.org
About How to work together
How to work together is a shared, three-year programme of contemporary art commissioning and research organised by Studio Voltaire, Chisenhale Gallery and The Showroom. Together, over three years starting in 2013, we have produced a series of artists’ commissions, events and an online think tank. We have combined our knowledge and resources to discover what we can do together, that we could not do alone. howtoworktogether.org
How to work together is supported by: Arts Council England/Lottery Funded, Bloomberg, Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Cockayne and The London Community Foundation.