Candida Powell-Williams: Lessness, still quorum
Bosse & Baum and artist Candida Powell-Williams presents the performance Lessness, still quorum. The live performance took place at Serpentine Gallery, London, and was live streamed to Bosse & Baum’s booth at A Performance Affair on Saturday 8 September GMT 13.00 – 15.30pm | EST 14.00 – 16.30pm.
In Lessness, still quorum, Powell-Williams reanimates the tarot as a three dimensional space, exploring the encounter between action, storytelling, symbolism and magical thinking. Sculptural forms are configured and reconfigured, composing the architectural structures found in the major arcana of the artist’s tarot cards. Metamorphosing between each card, dancers pierce and divide the space in a choreography inspired by spiritualist diagrams.
The performance follows Powell-Williams’ residency at the Warburg Institute London, in which, using the methodology of Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas, the artist generated a tarot deck. Idiosyncratically, this tarot maps the depiction of archetypes and symbols from classical antiquity to present day whilst drawing influence from the geometric, biomorphic and symbolic language of occult practices.
Lessness is the name of a short story by Samuel Beckett from 1969, in which the sequence of sentences was determined by pulling each one out of a container. Lessness is thus the shrinking of the bewildering number of sequences there could have been, while a quorum is a minimum number of bodies required of a collective to pass judgment.
The performance builds on the artist’s interest in European history and sculptural and performative storytelling; the possibility of presenting the past and future in the present; and what gives objects agency and potency through cultures and time. A longstanding interest in our attempts to navigate the Absurd has led her to consider mysticism and it’s meeting point with mundane materiality of objects.
This performance will form part of a major new installation explorating of the endurance and resurgence of esoteric, occult ideas and practices within contemporary culture. The project will bring together her political, theoretical and philosophical research of Tarot cards, exploring their cultural heritage through a sculptural, performative and digital installation emphasising the importance of alternative modes of thinking and exploring the power of Magical Thinking.
Supported by Serpentine Galleries London, Arts Council England, Warburg Institute London and Bosse & Baum Gallery London.
Candida Powell-Williams (born 1984, lives in London) graduated from the Royal College of Art, London in 2011. Her sculptural and performance works are a response to researching the slippage that occurs between primary and secondary source material, exploring the consequences of retelling history and how we construct identity through objects and memory. She is currently Artist in Residence at The Warburg Institute London. Selected exhibitions include: Boredom and its Acid Touch, Frieze Live, London (2017); Tongue Town, Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo (2017); Cache, Art Night Associate Programme, London (2017); Vernacular History of the Golden Rhubarb, Bosse and Baum Gallery, London (2017); PIC performance festival, Melbourne, Australia (2016); Coade’s Elixir, Hayward Gallery, London (2014). In 2013 Powell-Williams was awarded the Sainsbury Scholarship at the British School at Rome. Upcoming projects include a two-person show at Exposed Arts Projects November 2018 and a solo show (Rome, 2019).