William Hunt. A Vessel

13 Oct 2017 – 18 Nov 2017


Nottingham, United Kingdom


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For his newly commissioned work at Primary, titled A Vessel, William Hunt will work with five performers to develop a choreography borne out of the actions required to mix, pour, and smear Plaster of Paris, hoisting, lifting and reaching together.


The group will draw on the innate performance time of plaster, from mixing to setting, to give duration and urgency to these actions.

Once the powder is added to the water there is no going back. Between mixing and setting the chemical process is unaffected by human intervention and gives a focus to the body language of the performers. As this larger-than-human-scale endeavour plays out the performers have to work together in duets and trios, producing a natural choreography that brings individuals together as a gang, band, club or crew.

In the space a large sheet will be hung out horizontally. Stretched from its edges using ratchet straps bolted into the walls, this sheet at once becomes safety net, trampoline and animal skin left out to dry. The natural sag of the material gives the void into which the plaster can be poured, smeared and left to set. It hardens the shapes of the folds and creases. Long wooden rods, thrust down in to the setting plaster like spears, become the handles used to lift the form from its mould. When the whole form is inverted through 180 degrees, the handles then become its legs and it is left to stand in the space.

A series of spoken cues trigger each stage of activity, and a short hand of shouts and calls between the performers announce individual actions. Contact microphones pick up the natural harmonics of barrels where the plaster is mixed, the twang of ropes and materials in tension, adding to the sonic landscape of chants and rhythmic work. This audio material will form the soundtrack for the resulting installation, comprising the video and sculptural elements produced through the performance.

This forms part of Object Performance, a series of commissions presented by Primary and TG, combining residency and exhibition formats, alongside new performances. The programme is supported by The Ampersand Foundation, The Elephant Trust, The Henry Moore Foundation, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and The Embassy of the Netherlands, London.

Exhibiting artists

William Hunt


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