Emma Talbot, the London-based artist of sensuous visual poems becomes the next CIRCA artist, presenting a new body of four animated films in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery, Collezione Maramotti and the Max Mara Art Prize for Women.
Following a woman at the gateway between the old world and a new world to be made, Talbot’s ‘Four Visions for a Hopeful Future’ tells the story of a protagonist in search of answers to guide both her own journey and the development of society to a spiritual and political rebirth, on the iconic Piccadilly Lights screen.
Coinciding with International Women’s Day (8 March), Talbot’s animations represent our current moment as a universal space of fluid nature, punctuated with direct appeals to the viewer’s emotional reasoning, where past sadness can be transcended. Quoting Indian novelist Arundhati Roy, Talbot’s work utilizes the giant display as “a portal, a gateway between one world and the next” through which we are passing with the changing of seasons. Drawing on a history of cultural flourishing following historic pandemics, as the Black Death preceded the Renaissance, Talbot imagines a world in becoming, unshackled from the darkness of the past and limitations of societies that came before.
Talbot, winner of the eighth Max Mara Prize for Women, has begun to focus on her solo career only recently, following a career as an educator and academic in some of London’s most prestigious art schools. Her autobiographical work encompasses drawing, painting, animation, and sculpture. In a challenge to pessimism and cynicism, she confronts some of the world’s biggest structural problems, from gender inequality to the environmental collapse. Her winning proposal for the Max Mara prize, a feminist response to the apparent shame of female aging presented in Gustav Klimt’s painting Three Ages of Woman (1905), is emblematic of her works that communicate the personal as political.
Her Four Visions will be broadcast in a rolling four-night schedule throughout March. Animated in hand-drawn landscapes of natural and celestial beauty, lush with bodily and floral forms, Talbot searches for answers to the questions that will define a hopeful world as this savage winter draws to an end:
A Year of Dark Shadows: What will it take to emerge from a year of darkness and heal, Talbot asks? “Do you stare down into the pit… or up to the stars, pinpoints of hope in the night sky?”
What is a City? The future of our cities, having depopulated and reawoken, rests on decisions we now take between exponential growth and other forms of value
Our Own Creation: Talbot proposes ideas for how we each might come to visualise a hopeful future
Chorus: The communal nature of the challenge ahead and the polyphony of positive voices that are necessary to build a movement for cultural rebirth