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Exhibition: Simon Martin ‘UR Feeling’


British artist Simon Martin (b.1965) presents UR Feeling – a new film and a poster. In his previous work, Martin has focused on isolated objects such as the Louis Ghost Chair designed by Philippe Starck, a Donald Judd sculpture and a room divider by post-modern design group Memphis, to examine how we look at things and their representations. In this film, he collaborates with performers for the first time, to consider how people feel in response to the inherent architectural codes of the built environment and how the social history of a place can produce particular affects.

Moving away from an explanatory or analytical mode of address, this film is wordless and does not set out to convey meaning through representation, but to illuminate experience through the senses. Placing emphasis on mood and embodiment, an immersive soundscape includes field recordings from the Wapping Old Stair on the River Thames and samples of a reconstructed Lyre – thought to be the oldest stringed instrument, excavated from the ancient site of the Mesopotamian city Ur.

The performers respond to a number of scenarios which were proposed as image-based exercises, visual ‘clues’, forming the basis of a choreography. These images are derived from ideas about the body in relationship to situation, apprehension of context, buildings or objects. They are named: Site 01, Site 02, River, Portrait, and Corner. Working with artist and Butoh-trained dancer Nissa Nishikawa and Martin Tomlinson, these commands are actualised in improvisatory performances in which their bodies are moved by images in the mind’s eye, taking their cue from imagined environments and the reciprocal landscapes of affects and sensations they evoke.

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