William Hunt, 'A Vessel' | Photo: Reece Straw

William Hunt

PREVIEW & PERFORMANCE: Thursday 12 October 2017, 6-9pm

EXHIBITION: 13 October–18 November 2017
Friday–Saturday, 12noon-6pm or by appointment

James Adams, Bruce Asbestos, Alice Gale-Feeny, Rebecca Lee, and Eleanor Sikorski.

For his newly commissioned work at Primary, titled A Vessel, William Hunt worked with five performers to develop a choreography borne out of the actions required to mix, pour, and smear Plaster of Paris, hoisting, lifting and reaching together. The group drew on the innate performance time of plaster, from mixing to setting, to give duration and urgency to these actions.

Once the powder was added to the water there was no going back. Between mixing and setting the chemical process is unaffected by human intervention and gave a focus to the body language of the performers. As this larger-than-human- scale endeavour played out the performers worked together in duets and trios, producing a natural choreography that brought the individuals together as a gang, band, club or crew.

In the space a large sheet was hung out horizontally. Stretched from its edges using ratchet straps bolted into the walls, this sheet became at once safety net, trampoline and animal skin left out to dry. The natural sag of the material gave the void into which the plaster could be poured, smeared and left to set, hardening the shapes of the folds and creases.

A series of spoken cues triggered each stage of activity, and a short hand of shouts and calls between the performers announced individual actions. This argot of words and phrases was developed through the rehearsal process – appearing at different moments to function as instructions, questions and answers amongst the group. With no recourse to straightforward translation the audience were left to interpret how this private language related to the performance as it developed.

Contact microphones picked up the natural harmonics of barrels where the plaster was mixed, the twang of ropes and materials in tension; producing a set of recordings that were looped and amplified within the performance, adding to the sonic landscape of chants and rhythmic work. This audio material forms the soundtrack for the resulting installation.

William Hunt’s work is the fifth in Object Performance a series of commissions presented by Primary and TG, combining residency and exhibition formats, alongside new performances by Sahej Rahal, Remko Scha, Jan Vorisek, Guillaume Pilet, Andrea Neumann & Anna Susanna Woof, and Sophie Jung. This commission is supported by The Ampersand Foundation, The Henry Moore Foundation and The Elephant Trust.

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