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A life-altering series of events serve as the genesis for Kenyan-British artist Phoebe Boswell’s new work: an emotive interrogation of trauma, healing, and the poetics of endurance.
Boswell’s multidisciplinary art practice is anchored to a restless state of diasporic consciousness. She creates layered, deeply immersive installations to centre and amplify histories which - like her own - are often systemically marginalised.
In The Space Between Things, Boswell reflects on the rupture of her physical, spiritual, and emotional health. Using her art-making to explore a landscape of grief, she invites us to bear witness to a journey of recovery and possible renewal.
“Take me to the lighthouse / There is peace there / In the space between things / Take me to the lighthouse / There is peace there in the space between things / Take me to the lighthouse / I can rage there / In the space between things”
- Phoebe Boswell
Born in Nairobi to a Kikuyu mother and British Kenyan father, and raised in the Arabian Gulf, Phoebe Boswell (b. 1982) is a multi-disciplinary artist who lives and works in London.
Boswell studied at the Slade School of Art and Central St Martins. She is currently a Somerset House artist-in-residence, a Ford Foundation Fellow, and is represented in the United States by Sapar Contemporary, New York.
Her work has been widely exhibited: with galleries Sapar Gallery, Carroll / Fletcher, and Tiwani Contemporary; art fairs including Art15, 1:54, and Expo Chicago; and has screened at Sundance, the London Film Festival, LA Film Festival, Blackstar, Underwire, British Animation Awards, and CinemAfrica amongst others.
She participated in the Gothenburg International Biennial of Contemporary Art 2015 and was commissioned to make new work for the Biennial of Moving Images 2016 at the Centre d'Art Contemporain in Geneva.
On The Line (2018): Phoebe Boswell spent three weeks in the gallery producing a new work commissioned by Autograph - a 25-meter-long extended self-portrait drawn directly onto the gallery walls in soft willow charcoal.
Based on photographs the artist took periodically of herself while creating the work, converging states of being are layered onto a horizon line running across the gallery walls, anchored by a portrait of Boswell as a young child.
Ythlaf (2018): Played simultaneously on six floor-mounted video screens. Here, Boswell evokes the remedial power of water to buoy her spirit, to heal and to suture, while considering how inconsequential the gravity of her personal narrative is when contextualised within the expansiveness of nature. Filmed by her father’s drone, the artist’s body is adrift at sea, at the shoreline between Zanzibar and the Indian Ocean.
Step on the pressure pads dotted throughout the gallery to hear The Space Between Things (2018), a looped soundscape of spoken word poetry written by Boswell during her intense period of recuperation. The artist’s soothing voice is summoned, evoking a vertiginous cacophony of individual and collective harmony and sonic dissonance.
11am - 6pm
11am - 6pm
11am - 9pm
11am - 6pm
12 noon - 6pm
T: 020 7749 1240
Please note that this exhibition contains sensitive content
Banner images: 1) Phoebe Boswell, film still from Rapture [detail], 2018. Single channel video. Courtesy the artist and Sapar Contemporary, New York. 2) Phoebe Boswell, film still from Ythlaf, 2018. Single channel video with audio. Courtesy the artist and Sapar Contemporary, New York. 3) Phoebe Boswell: The Space Between Things at Autograph, London. Photograph by Zoe Maxwell. 4) Phoebe Boswell, For Our Souls Soar There, 2018. Courtesy the artist and Sapar Contemporary, New York. 5) Phoebe Boswell, Untitled 32 from the series She Summons an Army, 2018. Courtesy the artist and Sapar Contemporary, New York.
Page images, from left: 1-2) Phoebe Boswell: The Space Between Things at Autograph, London. Photographs by Zoe Maxwell 3)Phoebe Boswell, film still from Ythlaf [detail], 2018. Single channel video with audio. Courtesy the artist and Sapar Contemporary, New York. 4) Omar Victor Diop: Liberty/Diaspora gallery installation at Autograph, London. Photograph by Zoe Maxwell. 5) Exhibition opening night, Photograph by Zoe Maxwell.
Autograph is a place to see things differently. Since 1988, we have championed photography that explores issues of race, identity, representation, human rights and social justice, sharing how photographs reflect lived experiences and shape our understanding of ourselves and others.Donate Join our mailing list