FROMVictoria Woodhull, the 19th century feminist who rose to fame through America’s obsession with spiritualism, to Alison the haunted psychic of the dreary London orbital in Hilary Mantel’s novel Beyond Black, the figure of the spirit medium has long been a way of articulating the radical differences of female experience.
Fugue States, Lauren Gault and Allison Gibbs
That difference and the intense physical and emotional encounters that lie at the heart of extra-sensory occurrences are at the centre of Fugue States an excellent two-handed show at CCA. Two radically different artists, the sculptor Lauren Gault and the filmmaker Allison Gibbs, share a sensibility around the intangible connection between things and feelings.
While the surrealists used the spiritualist movement as a counter to a rationalist universe that had resulted in a devastating war, both these artists are more interested in hidden orders, systems and relationships. Gibbs, in her film Our Extra-Sensory Selves, contrasts the parched hallucinatory landscape around Marseille, with the intense experience of practices like “channelling” and “future telling”. Her analysis of the beliefs and group dynamics of spiritualist practice is a gentle, sympathetic teasing out of the issues.
Lauren Gault’s a few tolerances, is an elegant and compelling examination of the unspoken properties of physical materials. A pipe extends laconically from the skylight, straw bales loom and teeter and water is held incongruously taut in a clear PVC sleeve. A prehistoric whale’s tooth sits among casts in modern materials such as acrylic resin. Conventional time seems to collapse.
Until 6 September