POLYPHONY: Experiments and Adventures in Voice 2011-16 was my second solo exhibition at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol.
After the success of Site Singing: Vocal Explorations of Heritage Sites, a debut solo exhibition in July 2015, this autumn I returned to Centrespace Gallery to show a selection of interdisciplinary works spanning five years. This included the latest work in progress of the Site Singing project.
The opening event featured a durational site-specific vocal performance for four female voices, as well as some roof-raising polyphonic singing with friends from Bristol Sacred Harp.
Excerpt from introductory text: The exhibition presents the dialogue within my practice between voice(s), place, presence, and performance. It explores how I have taken inspiration from historical vocal forms, particularly concepts around ‘polyphony’ – the combining of ‘poly’ (many) ‘phony’ (voices) – into my interdisciplinary practice over the last few years.
The show is presented as an experiment to see what happens when each work is seen as a ‘voice’, which when sharing a space, becomes one of ‘many voices’ (poly-phony). This exhibition of combined voices draws works together in proximity for the first time, allowing them to speak to each other; to speak for – and between – themselves. It illustrates and further tests my theory that, whether recorded or in a video, we can never seem to truly separate technically ‘disembodied’ voices from human presence. We project human presence before rational thought can stop us – we can always seem to ‘hear a person’ in a recorded voice. This is why recorded voices can feel so uncanny, and so haunting. Read more here: Artist text: “Welcome to POLYPHONY”
For updates: follow @ellen_southern & see #polyphonyexhib
1, Press & Promotion:
2, Opening event and live performance:
3, Audio-visual installation, ‘Fugue’:
4, 3d works, Drawings & Soundworks:
5, Site Singing recent work in progress:
6, Archive works:
Singers: Leila Gamaz, Chloe Sommers, Ellen Southern, Rachel Wemyss
Installation: Audio-video Fugue (2016), filmed in situ. Read more here
Special thanks to all those featured in the exhibition: singers Jennie Howell (+ percussion) Fiona McAlister, Ellen O’Driscoll, Namvula Rennie, Nichola Richards, Holly Anne Rolfe, Kelly Thompson & Chloe Turpin. Instrumentalists Tom Bush (guitar / composition), Adel Sahnoun (flute), Fred Rissom & Alex Scatturo (double bass), Kareem Dayes & Stefan Knapik (cello). Also to James Casey (photo/video), and artist / dancer / art director Clare Whistler.
“Atmospheric exhibition, thanks for sharing this, Liah X
Eerie experimentalism and abstract mystic vibes – calming yet unnerving! Ruddy good work!
Ghostly and atmospheric, FAB! Ruth P x
Very impressive stuff, great work – I will come back and view / listen again (with friends!)
Intimate and universal, timeless and current, ancient and contemporary – altogether excellent! Thanks! MT
Sublime… and a bit scary! Dionne
Refreshingly honest, maintaining and generating illusions. Sara
Really haunting and moving – loved the ‘Site Singing’ photos of Over Bridge, and the ‘Fugue’ installation.
A beautiful, haunting show. Love the combination of sound and visual material.
An absolutely brilliant collection and interactions. Very touching, I didn’t want to leave (I came back!). The human voice in all its rich experience. If there is anywhere else to go, Ellen will take us there.
Great, a pleasure to see and hear, thank you.
Excellent, just brilliant. The works certainly do ‘speak’ together, and they definitely speak to me. More please.
I really enjoyed it. I liked how there were different types of media.
Thank you for realising things that I have been feeling around in my head for for years and never had the courage to put into concrete. Brilliant! Nick
I love it! I will download all the music, thanks!
Very interesting work. Good luck.
Ligeti would appreciate this.
Luminaire drawing series is my favourite – simple, sculptural, solemn yet playful – it draws you in. Stay here in this space for as long as you can and you will keep discovering more that you like and can take away with you in your head to keep and explore later.
This exhibition celebrates the joy and simplicity of the voice. It shows how much you can achieve just using a voice! Leila x
This is one of the most brain-tingling events I have ever witnessed. There should be more of this sort of stuff in Bristol – and elsewhere.
I love the use of space and voice, very different!
Intriguing and a different way of using audio and voice. I love the fact that its playful, haunting, and ritualistic. Thank you.”