Boswell’s multidisciplinary art practice is anchored to a restless state of diasporic consciousness. She creates layered, deeply immersive installations to centre and amplify histories which - like her own - are often systemically marginalised.
In The Space Between Things, Boswell reflects on the rupture of her physical, spiritual, and emotional health. Using her art-making to explore a landscape of grief, she invites us to bear witness to a journey of recovery and possible renewal.
Visceral and candid, Boswell’s layered imagery moves from an East London operating theatre, where she undergoes surgery to save her right eye, to an angiogram of her broken heart, to an imagined monocular army that she summons for strength, to the blurred depiction of her blinded sight.
We find her submerged in the contested space between land and sea at her family home on the shores of Zanzibar, where she retreated to recuperate. The artist’s own figure features prominently. In the lead-up to the exhibition, Boswell will draw a twenty-meter long extended portrait of the self onto the gallery walls in soft willow charcoal.
This is an act of both defiance – ‘I am here, I am present, I exist, I won’t be silent’ - and acceptance – ‘I'm fragile, I'm vulnerable, our bodies are fallible and unexpected’. Transcending beyond a meditation on the self, the fractured nature of being and diasporic consciousness as a strategy of resistance emerge as recurrent themes. Boswell explores how one might articulate a shared language to express grief: creating a set of intimate visual vocabularies which are vulnerable and empowering, personal and collective, cathartic and affirmative.
Images: 1) Phoebe Boswell, Rapture [detail], 2018. Still from single-channel Video. Courtesy the artist. 2) Phoebe Boswell, Ythlaf. Still from single-channel Video, 2018. Courtesy the artist.