“In Flat As The Tongue Lies, Ella de Búrca presents an installation of sound, text, kinetic sculpture and video. Using the structure of a three-act play, the installation explores the formation of meaning through reading, writing, and speech. The exhibition begins with Prelude, a sound piece that echoes the artist’s voice, leading you through a corridor into the rest of the gallery. At the end of passage, you encounter Act I, a text piece projected on a monitor screen and ends with Act II, a play printed as a takeaway for you to read. In the backdrop of the gallery, a stop-motion animation titled Lines is projected, functioning as an abstract visualization of the three-act play. Meanwhile, a sculpture titled Stage moves as if breathing in the corner of the gallery. In reference to eighteenth-century closet dramas — plays that are meant to be read alone or in a small group rather than produced — de Búrca’s exhibition is an imagined stage for a play that is never performed. Flat As The Tongue Lies constructs a space that hovers between interiority and exteriority, and, accordingly, the public and private. The installation is a reflection on current forms of censorship in a moment when male-dominant discourse continues to frame women’s narratives in relation to their own bodies. The exhibition is accompanied by a limited print publication with an essay by the curator.
Ella de Búrca works within the medium of performance, sculpture, and poetry to explore how meaning is constructed. She is interested in how we perform as a spectator and observing the unwritten rules for audience engagement within art institutions. Ella de Búrca is an Irish born artist who currently lives and works in Brussels. Recent exhibitions include: Post-Peace at Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, Germany and Nest, Den Haag, Holland (2017); Coup de Ville Triennale – WARP, Belgium (2016); Slow Future at The Centre of Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Poland (2014); Playing Nature at The Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2013); ReBuilding Utopia at The Emergency Pavilion, The 53rd Venice Biennale (2013).” Taken from the gallery website here.
Flat as the Tongue Lies
Ella de Burca, curated by Allyson Unzicker
29 September – 15 December 2018
Room Gallery, University of California Irvine
Photos courtesy of the artist and University Art Gallery, UC Irvine © 2018, and are by Jeff McLane.