emily speed body builders at the Exeter Phoenix

Your space or mine? Emily Speed’s Body Builders at the Exeter Phoenix

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Emily Speed is ‘concerned with how a person is shaped by the buildings they have occupied and with how a person occupies their own psychological space’. Sick building syndrome was once all the rage, and now we may well be looking at sick country syndrome, which could give Emily’s Classically inspired show an added edge when it pops into the Exeter Phoenix.

Body Builders is a video work which focuses on the relationship between the body and ancient classical architectural forms.

“Themes that circle power, gender, status and the symbolic meaning and language of architecture are reflected upon and explored through the abstract narrative of her film,” says the blurb.

“Her costumed protagonists, performed by choreographed dancers, are suggestive of ancient Greek Caryatids (female figures carved in stone that served as architecturally supporting columns) who are liberated here from their traditional weight-bearing, static roles.”

Body Builders (2016) was commissioned by Fort Worth Contemporary Arts in Texas.

“Elsewhere in the exhibition, sculptures and wall drawings reference classical architectural forms, including structures that serve as hybrid architectural furniture and suggest a fluid, performative, even ritualistic space of interaction and exchange.

“Their shelves and niches function as a platform for the display of a series of small-scale clay models, which might suggest a soft remaking or reimagining of monumental stone buildings.”

The exhibition runs from Fri 20 Jan – Sat 4 Mar.
Artists Talk
Sat 11 Feb | 2pm | free

Join the artist for a talk about her exhibition and wider practice.

Film Screening
Sat 11 Feb | 3.30pm | £4

Following her artist’s talk, Emily Speed will introduce a screening of Peter Greenaway’s 1987 cult classic movie The Belly of an Architect, specially selected to accompany her exhibition.


And here’s a bit from the Guardian from way back int 2011, when Emily was Artist of the week 150.