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Richard Layzell    

The Magpie

A residency, film and site-specific installation at Forty Hall in London designed and installed in 2012-13 as a one-person exhibition. The Magpie Blog

This historic building had recently been renovated and reopened to the public. As part of an emerging visual art programme I was commissioned to create an installation for the gallery and respond to the building as a whole.

As artist in residence I elected to 'inhabit' the interior and exterior of the building, alongside the wildlife and inherent biodiversity that is part of its contemporary and historic legacy i.e. the birds returned to the roof as soon as it was restored; the diversity of plants has been consistent over three centuries.

Research into the founder of the building, the wealthy haberdasher Nicholas Rainton, led to the incorporation of fabrics into the sculptural pieces and a celebration of domestic materials. I also created a link with how parks are used in China, with a public event that incorporated fabrics flowing from windows and the hands of local people.



The Magpie
       
 

Private Dancer

A collaboration with choreographer Janice Parker, as visual artist/designer, performer and co-director. I designed the installation as a focal point and fulcrum of this work to 'house' the performers and symbolise 'home'.

'Private Dancer plays with the expectations and emotions of audiences through choreography created by disabled artists. There is dance that is never seen. Alone, in the privacy of our homes, kitchen, bedroom and living rooms we give it our all.'

First shown at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow in 2010, Private Dancer was subsequently shown at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2011, where it received a Herald Angel award, as a site-specific piece for the IETM annual event in the Tempetons Building Glasgow in 2011 and at the South Bank Centre London in 2012 for the Unlimited Festival.



       
 

The River Flows

A performance and series of site-specific interventions emerging from a Visiting Arts 'Square Mile' residency in Shanghai in 2009. Living and working in one square mile of Shanghai involved extensive research and socially engaged initiatives to make contact with the community in its diversity and 'otherness'.

The Shanghai blog on the ResCen website formed a significant part of my working process during the two months of the onsite part of the project, and reveals the complexity of the emerging relations and interactions. The experience of the artist as onsite researcher and resident 'foreigner' was an intercultural dynamic that was continually expanding. A geographical square mile was physically limited but conceptually limitless. My insights, intuitions, understandings and misreadings were only partially impacted through the collaboration of a translator.

The River Flows, a perfomance that traces and documents this journey was shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Xin Dan Wei Shanghai in 2009, the House of Art, Brno, Czech Republic, Buzz Cuts Glasgow, Asia House London, Hanah McLure Centre Dundee and the Lost Theatre London (20011-13).

A series of site-specific interventions within the Square Mile were presented and publicised as The Cycle in 2009.



The River Flows





The River Flows
       
  Key Notes

Key Notes is an ongoing performance work that explores, critiques and satirises the place, status and context of public speaking: from the troops rousing corporate address to the jovial and benign tones of the father of the bride, to the behavioural peculiarities of the academic lecturer. Already performed as a work-in-progress in Oxford, Stroud, London and Colchester, it was premiered at the National Review of Live Art in Glasgow in 2008. Key Notes has subsequently been performed at the Waterfont Hall Belfast (2010), Norwich Arts Centre (2012) and Late at Tate Britain (2013).

This work is a descendant of The Revolution–You’re In It! commissioned by Kettles Yard in 1989, where there was an inevitable descent into corporate and political madness. The significant development in Key Notes is the seamless switch from one persona or context to another, so that the nature of public speaking is made uncomfortably skeletal and the nature of performance is aligned with daily life.


Key Notes
       
  The Manifestation – a touring installation in collaboration with Tania Koswycz

The Manifestation is a direct development of the Talking to Tania dialogues that have been published on this website. The installation draws together themes and interventions which have evolved through the four years of this project: The Perfect Image; White on White; The Radiant Curve; The Stumbling Block; The Table as Metaphorical Space; International Cleaning; The Dialogue; Standing Very Still and Falling Phoebe.

The nature of the ongoing dialogue with Tania Koswycz has shifted from commentary to collaboration, so Tania now receives equal billing and her voice becomes potentially the dominant one through her aesthetic of absence. The Manifestation found form through an initial work-in-progress Towards the Perfect Image at Stroud Valley’s Artspace in October 2007. This work was an essentially photographic exploration, which successfully incorporated the dialogue in handwritten text on 38 postcards.

The Manifestation, as a collaborative installation, was shown at Café Gallery Projects London and Stroud Valleys Arts Space in 2008 and Colchester Arts Centre/Firstsite in 2009.

THe Manifestation
       
  IS

IS was a Bristol City Council Neighbourhood Arts commission as part of Bristol’s Year of Creativity 2005, funded by the Urban Cultural Programme. This city-wide, large-scale participatory arts project took place in eight neighbourhoods with Richard devising and leading a series of interventions, installations and events with communities.

IS culminated in a series of high profile city centre events including film screenings at Arnolfini and Watershed and an exhibition at Centrespace. The project profiled the cultural identity and diversity of the city’s communities.

IS employed arts practice as a dialogic tool between individuals and communities. It tested the possibility for a new vocabulary of community-based arts in which the social aims of neighbourhood renewal – tackling social exclusion, increasing achievement in education, reducing inequalities in health, promoting access – were bound by the unique urban landscapes of the city itself.



is

Is
photos: Rob Irving
       
  The Boiler House [75 Year Transition] a permanent site-specific installation for The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The site, a corridor, has become a main entry point to the new North Courtyard building, and bridges a gap of 75 years in its history, from 1928 to 2003. Formerly exterior walls have now become interior ones and the Lower Ground Floor’s inner workings have been exposed.

Instead of concealing these underground details by constructing a new corridor within the old, Richard collaborated with the School, the architect and the building contractors to create a sensory journey. Richard combined historical archival research and interviews with current building users to create an environment that reflects both the School’s history and usage. This includes the design of flooring, ceiling, lighting and the relocation of an original oak door to the precise entry point that divides the old from the new. The work spanned about 12 months. In this time Richard’s ‘conversation’ moved from architect and builders to staff, students and visitors. This is an artwork that is intentionally both visible and invisible at the same time, where performative interaction is as much a part of the strategy as the material installation in the corridor. [link]

Boiler House
       
  Art Work/Work Art durational performance for Steder/Places Lillehammer Norway.

Art Work/Work Art was part of Steder/Places, an international programme of site-specific artworks staged throughout the town of Lillehammer, Norway in August 2003. Richard also gave the opening keynote performance lecture address: The Architecture of Belief at the Steder/Places conference.

Art Work/Work Art developed Richard’s concerns about the relationship between performance and the everyday, between the theatrical gesture and ordinary movement. For this piece he became interested in the round coffee table as a metaphor for internationalism. He took on the role of a waiter at the Park Canteen in Lillehammer where the action of waiting tables became the medium and mode of perfomative action.

Layzell kept a daily journal of his experiences, which were relayed back to this website [link]. These diary entries were also translated into Norwegian and appeared in the newspaper Gudbrandsølen Dagningen.

art work/work/art
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