It is a new site-specific performance on the Derry Walls’ Walker Plinth by artist Candida Powell-Williams in collaboration with Echo Echo Dance Theatre. Sound, movement and costume will combine to explore the dualism of repelling and attracting, taking the transformation of the city walls from defensive architecture to tourist attraction as the starting point.
The dancers will take gestural direction from Powell-William’s first sound piece, synthesised from her ongoing series of ceramic bell idols. Like the walls, bells also repel and attract, worn to fend off evil spirits and simultaneously denote the time of worship therefore bringing people to them. Her bells are based on 7th-6th century BC goddess idols which signifying the forces of nature and the onward march of time. Inspired by the bell idol’s freely moveable legs, the dancers choreography is agile and powerful, taking advantage of all the potential manoeuvres of the spine and legs creating curves, spirals, twists, ripples, knotting together and pushing apart, their costumes inspired by amour and bell shaped forms.
The performance will finish on the Walker plinth which was the base for a neo classical column that once stretched up into the sky. Columns and bell towers are architectural forms designed to lift us up, to the passage between the worlds, to link us to the notion of what is beyond. The plinth’s now absent column, makes the space between land and the universe available to fill with a new ritual linking the body to the limitless sky.
Powell-William’s artistic practice often plays with the contested meaning of symbols. Her ongoing series of bell idols work with the duality of a figurative sculpture and a functional object and are part of a larger enquiry into conduits for practicing meditative rituals.
Candida Powell-Williams graduated from the Royal College of Art, London in 2011 and the Slade School of Fine Art London in 2009. 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 was recently Artist in Residence at The Warburg Institute London. Selected exhibitions include: Lessness, still quorum, performance, Serpentine Galleries, London (2018); 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 & Baum Gallery, London (2017); PIC performance festival, Melbourne, Australia (2016); Coade’s Elixir-an occupation, Hayward Gallery, London (2014). Powell-William’s is the recipient of the 2018 Mother Art Prize with a group show at Mimosa House London (2019). Other awards include the Sainsbury Scholarship at the British School at Rome (2012-13), the Paris Residency at Cite Internationale des Arts, (2010), Eric and Jean Cass Sculpture Award (2010-2011). In 2019 common-editions published Powell-William’s 78 card tarot deck and artist book.
Date: Saturday 24th August
Venue: Walker Plinth, Derry City Walls