Coade's Elixir - an occupation (2014) presents new sculptural and performance works by London-based artist Candida Powell-Williams.
The installation takes the history, materiality and mythology of the Southbank Centre site as a starting point.
It draws on the narrative of an eighteenth-century local entrepreneur, Mrs Eleanor Coade, whose factory was located where Royal Festival Hall currently stands.
Here Mrs Coade manufactured and produced Lithodipyra, an 'artificial stone' used for statues, large-scale ornaments and Neo-Classical architectural decorations.
Evoking Mrs Coade and chronicling her stone, Candida Powell-Williams populates Concrete Café with roughly hewn, Neo-Classical and Baroque architectural ornaments.
These prop-like objects are made from low-tech materials and use a language of approximations. They are not true replicas, but are 'animated' by caricaturisation and humour, transforming and undermining the personality of the space.
In doing so Powell-Williams continues her own ongoing investigations into artifice, hyper-reality and Beckettian absurdity.
Coade's Elixir - an occupation opens up a multi-layered narrative, as Powell-Williams plays with the effects of (re)telling stories, drawing from a myriad of reference points and adding red herrings along the way.
Slipping away from its original historical source, the work explores the intersection between 'personal and collective experiences of our material world ... confronting our sense of reality through absurd scenarios and an interrogation of object making'.
A performance marks the opening night of Coade's Elixir – an occupation, taking place throughout the course of the evening.
A performer choreographs their movements in response to the slightly off-kilter installation in Concrete Café, resulting in a carnivalesque enactment of stuttering celebration.
Candida Powell-Williams: Coade's Elixir is part of a series of artists' projects organized by Hayward Gallery's exhibitions and touring team in Concrete, the Hayward Gallery's café/bar.
Previous projects have featured work by Melissa Jordan, Peter MacDonald, Olivier Castel, George Eksts, Andrea Gregson, Yu-Chen Wang, Nicki Rolls, Vicky Falconer, Sam Belinfante, Jesse Wine, Helen Robertson, Adam Thompson, Francesca Anfossi, Paul Mart, Sara Mackillop, Patrick Coyle, Nicolas Deshayes, Dan Coopey, Cullinan Richards, Julie Verhoeven, Alexis Teplin, and Donna Huddleston.
Image Credit: Candida Powell-Williams, Coade's Elixir – an occupation (detail), 2014. Courtesy the artist.
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