Monday, 21 May 2018

You would almost expect to find it warm

Laura Wilson, You would almost expect to find it warm, 2018. Co-commissoned by Block Universe and Franck Bordese.

On Friday 1 June, 4-8pm in the Great Hall at the British Museum I am presenting You would almost expect to find it warm (2018), a new a site-specific performance using dance and fresh dough as an interplay of two living organisms operating in a constant flow of movement.

With an uncanny resemblance to human flesh and marble, the material and choreography of the performers draws parallels between the sculptures of Auguste Rodin, and those of the Parthenon, in response to the exhibition Rodin and the art of ancient Greece at the British Museum.

You would almost expect to find it warm
(2018) will be performed by Elina Akhmetova, Kirsty Arnold, Iris Chan, Adam Moore, Daniel Persson and Piedad Seiquer. With thanks to Yeast Bakery.

Co-commissioned by Block Universe and Franck Bordese.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Syllabus Mix at Guest Projects

On Sunday 27 May, 6-10pm I am showing a new sound work at Guest Projects in SyllabusMix — An evening of screenings from Syllabus i, ii & iii as part of the gallery's 10 Year Anniversary weekend of performance, music and interactive workshops by past artist residents.

Syllabus Mix is an evening of screenings, performance and sounds from Syllabus i, ii & iii. Including work by Frederica Agbah, Chris Alton, Mira Calix, Ilker Cinarel, Faye Claridge, Phoebe Davis, Freya Dooley, Mike Harvey, E. Jackson, Tyler Mallison, Jill McKnight, Mathew Parkin, Tom Smith, Lucy Steggals, Thomas Whittle, Laura Wilson, Rafal Zajko.

The Syllabus is a national, alternative peer-led learning programme involving 10 selected artists annually, delivered in partnership by Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge; Eastside Projects, Birmingham; New Contemporaries; S1 Artspace, Sheffield; Spike Island, Bristol; Studio Voltaire, London and Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts), London.

RSVP to attend via Eventbrite here

Friday, 9 March 2018

Block Universe

I am super excited to be included in the Block Universe 2018 programme!

Block Universe, London’s leading international performance art festival is set to launch its fourth edition in May with an expanded 10-day programme of new commissions, UK premieres, talks, screenings and workshops.

From 26 May to 3 June 2018, Block Universe will present work by some of the most innovative UK-based and international artists working in performance art today, including Maria Hassabi, Hanne Lippard, Giselle Stanborough, Nora Turato and Laura Wilson.

The festival features five new commissions by Gery Georgieva, Evan Ifekoya & Victoria Sin, Alex Mirutziu, Last Yearz Interesting Negro / Jamila Johnson-Small and They Are Here, a collaborative practice led by Helen Walker and Harun Morrison.

As in previous years, performances will take place in major institutions and unique venues across London, including Somerset House, British Museum, Royal Academy of Arts and Studio Voltaire. Creating extraordinary opportunities for dialogue between London’s storied institutions and a selection of exceptional performance artists working at the cross-section of contemporary visual art, dance and music, Block Universe positions London at the forefront of international performance art.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Rolling at Hull & East Riding Museum

Here are some photos from a presentation of Rolling on 7 October at the Hull & East Riding Museum. The work was commissioned earlier this year by Delfina Foundation and the Royal College of Art.

Thanks to Forge Bakehouse, Sheffield and to performers: Jo Ashbridge, Iris Chan, Louise Harman, Meghan Hope, Jane Savage.

Photos: top image, by David Chamlers; all other images by Nick Harrison.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Milling About at Hull & East Riding Museum

Laura Wilson: Milling About
Hull & East Riding Museum
36 High St, Hull HU1 1NQ

7 October - 6 December 2017

Milling About by Laura Wilson explores Hull’s and the East Riding of Yorkshire’s history of growing grain and producing flour for baking bread. Inspired by the archaeological collections in the museum, Wilson worked with archaeologist Dr. Melanie Giles, University of Manchester, to explore the evolution of ancient grinding technologies and their affect on the human body.

This new commission by Invisible Dust for Surroundings, a Humber Museums Partnership programme, was presented within the archaeological galleries, in a building that between 1856 and 1925, was part of the Corn Exchange and is situated opposite the now demolished Clarence Flour Mills. Set to a soundtrack by Mira Calix, the video follows the protagonist enacting the repetitive motions of grinding flour by hand using quern stones, a common practice in Britain until the Romans brought their engineering skills here and as Dr Giles says, ‘eased the burden on the body’.

Wilson states:
‘Historically  quern  stones  would  have  been  very  personal  objects,  and  often destroyed  when the owner died. This was  a daily ritual  producing just enough flour   to make bread, the upper stone is rotated or rubbed to and from on the lower one: the stones grind each other and produce dust. It is rhythmic movement, there is a pace to  it but these movements are laborious, demanding and necessary: the body grinds.’

Laura Wilson’s research included visits to Skidby Windmill, the local family-run organic millers J. Stringers & Sons and the deserted village of Wharram Percy. She also met John Cruse, co-ordinator of the Yorkshire Archaeology Society’s Yorkshire Quern Survey; Dr. Ruth Pelling, Historic England Senior Environmental Archaeologist; and Dr. Richard Osgood, Senior archaeologist of the Ministry of Defence, to discuss her ideas.

Curated by Lara Goodband.

Photo: Laura Wilson, Milling About, 2017 (still from video). Commissioned and produced for Surroundings by Invisible Dust in partnership with Humber Museum Partnership. Photo credit: Laura Wilson

Friday, 20 October 2017

Text about 'Milling About' by Dr. Melanie Giles

Milling About by artist Laura Wilson explores Hull’s and the East Riding of Yorkshire’s history of growing grain and producing our for baking bread. Inspired by the archaeological collections in the Hull and East Riding Museum, Wilson worked with archaeologist Dr. Melanie Giles, University of Manchester, to explore the evolution of ancient grinding technologies and their a ect on the human body who describes the archaeological context here. 

‘The history of milling in the British Isles has a long heritage. From the earliest cultivation of cereal crops in the Neolithic to modern organic farming, the Yorkshire Wolds has been the scene of generations of farmers, using di erent types of quern stones, to mill their wheat, rye and barley, for daily bread. Whilst the technology has changed dramatically over six thousand years of our- making, the intimate knowledge of the soils, the crops that can be best grown, and the skill that goes into the making of our daily bread, links past to present in a powerful way. 

Quernstones tell the day-to-day story of food production. They are often made of a special stone brought into an area: gritty enough to grind grain, but not leave too much sand in the sandwich! Sometimes they are worked into engraved surfaces to help grind the our into a ner grade, and rarely, they are decorated. Some could be worked by grinding back-and-forth (the ‘saddle quern’), and others by turning with a handle (‘beehive’ and ‘rotary’ querns). Most are ceremonially broken and fragmented at the end of their life-use, and placed in special contexts: pits, ditch terminals and rarely, burials. They were bound into the life of a house, perhaps strongly associated with individuals, who had their own, distinctive way of working these stones, and they were clearly powerful symbols of fertility and well-being for those agricultural communities who thrived or starved, according to their harvests. It was only with the Romans that water - and later, wind power - could be used to ease the burden of toil this took on the body. This leaves traces that archaeologists can identify in the shoulders and musculature of prehistoric bodies.

From discussions with experts in ancient querns, archaeological botanists and experimental archaeological farms, to modern organic farming on the Wolds, Laura has produced a film inspired by the transition in the Iron Age to early Roman period (about 500 BC to 100 AD), from simple saddle quern to beehive and rotary quern. Drawing on her previous artworks on the making of bread, Laura brings to this project an understanding of the way in which the body, the quernstones and the grain, are fused in a dance-like, entrancing relationship of everyday labour’. 
Dr Melanie Giles, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, University of Manchester and author of Archaeologists & the Dead: Mortuary Archaeology in Contemporary Society (Howard Williams and Melanie Giles - Oxford University Press) A forged glamour: landscape, identity and material culture in the Iron Age (Melanie Giles - Windgather Press)

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Thanks to all who came on Saturday for the opening of Milling About at the Hull and East Riding Museum in Hull.

Photos: (From top image down) Laura Wilson, Milling About, 2017. Installation view. Photo: David Chalmers; Curator Lara Goodband introducing the work. Photo: Nick Harrison; Laura Wilson and Dr. Melanie Giles, archaeologist. Photo Nick Harrison; Laura Wilson, Dr. Melanie Giles and John Cruse. Photo: Nick Harrison,