Elizabeth Price: The Tent

An installation by Elizabeth Price ― winner of the Turner Prize 2012 and PhD Fine Art alumna. Curated by University Academic Fellow in Fine Art and Curatorial Practice, Sam Belinfante.

Elizabeth Price’s narrative video, The Tent (2010), is derived from a single book, Systems (1972). The book is the film’s sole visual subject and the only resource for its graphic narration. Indeed, most aspects of the video, including elements of the soundtrack, have been extorted from the different properties and possibilities of the book.

Published by the Arts Council, Systems was a catalogue accompanying an exhibition of work by artists associated with the eponymous 1970s British group: Richard Allen, John Ernest, Malcolm Hughes, Colin Jones, Michael Kidner, Peter Lowe, James Moyes, David Saunders, Geoffrey Smedley, Jean Spencer, Jeffrey Steel and Gillian Wise Ciobotaru. It features drawings and documentation of art works, as well as photographs of and an extended text by each of the artists included.

The proposition of the video is to formulate the book as a kind of space – an ideological and imaginative enclosure, expressed as a futuristic tent – and the book’s content is employed to narrate a fiction regarding the erection, attempted inhabitation and evacuation of that tent. Drawing on science- and space-fiction genres, the narrative is a fantasy that responds to the recurrent themes of the book: apocalyptic anxiety and futurological urgency, idealised relations between social and aesthetic economies, and artistic production as intense, hermetic refuge.

The ideograph of the tent is directly derived from Moyes’ Vibration Tent (1972), which is described in the Systems catalogue as an environment intended for the experience of extreme white light and white noise, and which is presented through diagrams and descriptions of its fabrication. Price’s visual treatment of The Tent responds to Moyes’ proposition.

The film’s specially commissioned soundtrack is performed and produced by Jem Noble. Generated from the object of the book, it employs its sonic potential though the use of light-dependant oscillators, tactile interaction, speech melody and spectrum analysis.

The Tent was originally commissioned by Frieze Foundation for Frieze Film and Channel 4.

This exhibition is part of a series of events in February to celebrate the launch of the new building for the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, which now brings the School onto one site for the first time. More information can be found here.

The Tent is the first event in the Project Space programme for 2017: a series of installations, workshops, talks and exhibitions organised by the Centre for Audio Visual Experimentation.

About Elizabeth Price: 
University of Leeds alumna Elizabeth Price (b. 1966, Bradford) is an artist living and working in London. Recent solo exhibitions include A RESTORATION, Ashmolean, Oxford (2016); HERE, Baltic, Newcastle (Feb-May 2012); CHOIR, New Museum, New York (2011); Perfect Courses and Shimmering Obstacles, Tate Britain (2010); THE TENT, Frieze Projects & Channel 4 (2010); and USER GROUP DISCO, Spike Island, Bristol (2009). Recent group exhibitions include British Art Show 7, Hayward Gallery, London (2011); and Archivo-Archivanti, Intermediae, Madrid (2011). Price won the Turner Prize in 2012 for her twenty-minute video installation The Woolworths Choir of 1979. Elizabeth obtained a PhD in Fine Art from the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies (University of Leeds) in 1999.

Images: Stills from The Tent (2010 HD video 12 minutes), Elizabeth Price.