5-7 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9SN | 28th March – 30th March, 2019
Forum will feature a collective performance by Adelaide Damoah that will see the artist
use her own body to confront Ghana’s colonial history.
Mary Ward House
5-7 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9SN
28th March - 30th March 2019
Open Space has today (6 February 2019) announced the programme for its inaugural edition of Forum, a three-day event comprising artist performances, film screenings, talks and workshops. Forum: Of Hosts & Guests will run from Thursday 28 March - Saturday 30 March 2019 across three cultural venues in Bloomsbury, London: University College London (UCL), Mary Ward House and Pushkin House. Through diverse, site-specific responses to these spaces, six participating artists will explore ideas of hospitality, hierarchy, ritual and belonging.
Forum will feature: a collective performance by Adelaide Damoah that will see the artist use her own body to confront Ghana’s colonial history; a three-act food-art performance interrogating conceptions of class by Nora Silva and a screening of Amartey Golding’s Chainmail film series exploring identity politics around race, gender and class followed by a live crit of his work led by his family and friends. Further works include: a life drawing class led by Henry Hussey, addressing issues of an imperial and gendered gaze; an entrancing, colour saturated film of a Ghanaian market projected into a mirrored installation, activate d with a drawing workshop led by Larry Amponsah; and a participatory photoshoot staged by William Martin in collaboration with Charlotte Speechley, designed to invert the hierarchy of viewership and rituals of dressing.
Deriving its title from Albert Camus’s 1957 short story L'Hôte, which translates into both ‘the host’ and ‘the guest’, Of Hosts & Guests invites artists and audiences to play with the duality of playing both of these roles. The programme will unfold as a journey through spaces, challenging social structures in pursuit of social connection and asking how we can establish a sense of home and community in the face of contested borders and endangered notions of belonging.
Of Hosts & Guests is guest curated by Katherine Finerty.
The Home – Ritualising the Domestic
Thursday 28 March, 6:30 - 9:00 pm, Mary Ward House
Launching the programme, British-Ghanaian artist Adelaide Damoah will present a new collective performance titled Into the Mind of the Coloniser. As the artist and guests read directional manuals written by self-proclaimed 19th-century colonisers, recently discovered by the artist in a forgotten archive, the audience will gradually cut away her traditional Ghanaian funeral dress to reveal blood red skin beneath. Damoah often uses her body as a ‘living paintbrush’ and, during the performance, she will make body prints upon the manuals, leaving a ghost of the progeny of colonised people.
Spanish-Chilean artist Nora Silva will present an immersive food-art performance titled Minced Meat. A modern day reinterpretation of an 18th-century French banquet, the work will play out as a three-act meal using the symbolism of food to form a social critique of our time. From a ‘meatball riot’ commenting on the exploitation of meat by the food industry, to a ‘bread auction’ reflecting class divisions in society, the performance will question and challenge conceptions of class through the medium of food.
The University – Returning the Gaze
Friday 29 March, 12:30pm - 5:30pm, Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, University College London
British artist Amartey Golding will present three films from his Chainmail series, exploring the human condition through the experiences of black British men as they participate in fictional subcultures that the artist has created. The project was initiated after two of Golding’s godson’s friends were violently murdered in quick succession. In Chainmail I Golding’s brother, Solomon (the first black British male dancer to join the Royal Ballet Company) is shown performing to Boom Boom Bye, a Dancehall song famous for its violent homophobic content. The chainmail he is wearing represents the ideological dissonance between being portrayed as both ‘aggressor’ and ‘victim’, with its contradictory nature as an item that both preserves life and facilitates death.
Chainmail 2 features the artist’s close friend, Darren, who is homeless but works 7 days a week to provide for his children. Enduring a handmade chainmail outfit heavier than his own slight body weight, Darren strides through the atmospheric Palm House at Kew Gardens, representing both freedom and captivity, sacrifice and self-indulgence. As part of his ongoing project, CRITS , Golding will invite members of his family to engage in a live response to his work, where personal opinion and anecdotal story-telling will be prioritised in favour of art world jargon.
British artist Henry Hussey will lead a life drawing class that subverts the white European male gaze and challenges notions of power. The participatory performance, titled The Collapse of History, invites viewers to draw the artist while he, too, is in the process of drawing another classical white male nude inspired by two antique sculptures of Capitoline Antinous and Discophorus outside the main UCL building. The work challenges the idea of objectification by placing both male models in position of vulnerability in which they lose their archetypal positions of strength and power.
The Cultural Centre – Reimagining the Heritage
Saturday 30 March, 10:00am – 6:00pm, Pushkin House
British-South African artist and ceramicist William Martin, in collaboration with photographer Charlotte Speechley, will present a participatory photo shoot called The Lever, which aims to invert the traditional hierarchy of viewership and rituals of dressing. Inspired by the intimate, yet public, coronation ceremony of French monarchs, Martin’s new ceramic and textile works will be available for visitors to wear, creating a sense of performance and masquerade in the historic setting of Pushkin House. Along with the artist, the photographer and the site, participants will direct the work, activating it in new and personal ways.
Ghanaian artist Larry Amponsah will present an immersive film, sculptural installation and mixed-media drawing workshop called DAMNED IF I DO… DAMNED IF I DON’T. His new film, Looking for Sugar in the Ocean… Who is the Enemy? samples scenes from a Ghanaian market, providing a window into people’s daily lives and struggles. Amponsah treats the film as a painting: layering and re-configuring the imagery, manipulating the speed and applying saturated colour schemes, before finally inverting it to distort and alienate traces of identity. The artist will also host a drawing, painting and collage workshop inviting visitors to Interpret their own experience of the space.
RSVP TO ATTEND THE 28TH MARCH ADELAIDE DAMOAH'S PERFORMANCE.