Exeter Phoenix is pleased to present Body Builders, a solo show of recent work by British artist Emily Speed.
Speed is interested in the relationship between people and buildings and her practice explores the body and its relationship to architecture, through sculpture, installation, drawing and performance. She is concerned with how a person is shaped by the buildings they have occupied and with how a person occupies their own psychological space.
The exhibition is the first UK showing of new works that include Body Builders (2016) a video work commissioned by Fort Worth Contemporary Arts in Texas, (USA), which focuses on the relationship between the body and ancient classical architectural forms.
Themes that circle power, gender, status and the symbolic meaning and language of architecture are reflected upon and explored through the abstract narrative of her film. Her costumed protagonists, performed by choreographed dancers, are suggestive of ancient Greek Caryatids (female figures carved in stone that served as architecturally supporting columns) who are liberated here from their traditional weight-bearing, static roles.
Elsewhere in the exhibition, sculptures and wall drawings reference classical architectural forms, including structures that serve as hybrid architectural furniture and suggest a fluid, performative, even ritualistic space of interaction and exchange. Their shelves and niches function as a platform for the display of a series of small-scale clay models, which might suggest a soft remaking or reimagining of monumental stone buildings.