Lament for the Walking Dead by Phoebe Collings-James
The Cob Gallery is delighted to announce Phoebe Collings-James’ multi-disciplinary solo show Lament for the Walking Dead, a fluent eruption of unexpected spectres and sticky sexuality.
The exhibition draws its name from the 1970 Archie Whitewater song, at the centre of which the sculptural piece oKoKoK is composed of 50 white plaster hoods. Invested with the poise of an undersea coral reef - whose stillness seems to conceal some secret movement - the work strikes an impressive pose across the gallery floor, a vertiginous spillage of form. Softly conical shapes, unquestionably phallic, resonate with the childhood playfulness of Tove Jansson’s Moomin Valley, whilst also recalling the violent costumery of the Ku Klux Klan - the absurd triviality of the dressing-up box tangled with a lugubrious depravity of thought.
Accompanying this is Murder by Chocolate, an aural-spatial composition of 12 hand-made glass speakers, through which the voices of Collings-James and a 65-year-old Belizean doorman named Mario, recorded together in New York, read out the dishes from American dessert menus. A husky, seductive atmosphere is established around the instantaneity of physical encounter in counterpoint with the distance constructed by the recording and the speakers, where a mutual language falteringly bridges the gap.
The exhibition culminates on October 3rd with an offsite surround-sound video installation. The Descent revitalises a well-studied arrangement: ‘the woman descending the staircase is a myth,’ declares Collings-James, ‘one that has been indulged for decades on and off the screen.’ Here, assemblies of cinematic staircase sequences are layered alongside one another towards a convulsive crescendo of audiovisual stimulation. ‘Beauty will be convulsive,’ wrote André Breton, ‘or it will not be’ - combining this impetus with the logical next step from Duchamp and Richter, the artist closes on an astute and arresting note.
The Cob Gallery, 205 Royal College St, London, NW1 0SG
www.cobgallery.com - email@example.com - (020) 7209 9110
Lament for the Walking Dead is Phoebe’s first solo show in her home city since 2011’s Broken Hearts Requiem at the Maurice Eindhart Neu Gallery. During this period she has exhibited to widespread acclaim in New York, Berlin, Beirut, Madrid, Lisbon, Athens and Los Angeles, as well as Miami Art Basel, the 2012 Marrakech Biennale and most recently at the Preteen Gallery in Mexico.
A graduate of Goldsmith’s College, Collings-James has flourished into a recognised name within the contemporary art scene. Her responses to what she calls ‘the predicted sensory overload of my generation’ are characterised by a nuanced yet potent directness, with the closely considered sexuality of her work underwritten by a sustained engagement with feminist perspectives.
Alongside the exhibition works, two limited edition prints will be available to buy exclusive to The Cob Gallery.
The Descent will be screened on October 3rd at Building 4, Bethnal Green, E2 9DS.
The Cob Gallery and Studios was founded in February 2011 by curator Victoria Williams and playwright Polly Stenham. The space was founded on the principle of creative collaboration and is dedicated to supporting emerging artists.
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