Homer saw the Earth as a floating disk in a great encircling river including the waters above the firmament.
In archaeological terminology, autochthonous essentially means indigenous – something tied to its original site, while allochthonous refers to dispersed or displaced organisms. In London’s Thames flood plain, where there has been continual tidal movement, the archaeological finds in the alluvial ground are largely things that have drifted.
The famous black, murky water of the Thames is an effect of the churning tides daily drawing up mud from the riverbed – as if Earth and water are never fully separate anyway. Coleman Project’s location in Bermondsey is deep in the Thames Flood Plain and the underground River Peck and Earl’s Sluice flow nearby. I keep thinking of water.
(Bernice Donszelmann, 2024)
Coleman Project Space is delighted to open its doors in 2024 with three tides passed, a solo exhibition of new work by Bernice Donszelmann.
The London-based Canadian artist will create a new sited work that draws from the human histories of surrounding Southwark’s riverside-settlement location and the bodily dynamics of video-art performance.
Donszelmann works in a variety of media, but is known for her quietly effective architectural interventions that bring attention to the vagaries of built environments; how we use and encounter them. Often, they require a willingness of investigation – sometimes to locate them in a space, but in this case, to traverse it. In the main gallery, she will present a floor-based work resembling packing crates – objects associated with the movement of essential or high-status things as much as urban detritus.
The ground as a shifting territory forms the basis of a new film works by Donszelmann that will feature in the Shed space, referencing seminal 1970s performance videos by Bruce Nauman*. For this series, he devised exercises where performers lie on the floor and imagine sinking into it or the possibility of it rolling up over them. In Donszelmann’s restaging, the subject is distorted, edited into a granular segue of limbs, neither floating nor falling.
Bernice Donszelmann is an artist and writer based in London. Her art practice spans installation, sculpture, performance and text. Recent exhibitions and projects include Architectures in Air at Brixton Library, London (2023); LEVEL, a solo exhibition at APT Gallery London (2022); [these roarers] a participatory performance at the Whitstable Biennale in 2018 (organized jointly with Lucy Gunning and Helen Robertson); Phase III — Le Modulor at Gallery HLM, Marseille (2019) and; Drift, Thames-side Studios Gallery, London (2019). She is a Senior Lecturer at Chelsea College of Art, an Associate Professor at Bergen School of Architecture and is a founding member of the collaborative curatorial group Outside Architecture.
* Tony Sinking into the Floor, Face Up, Face Down (1973); Elke allowing the Floor to Rise up over her Face, Face Up (1973).
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