Claire Nichols ⎸ UK
Hello, my name is Claire Nichols, and I am a London-based artist working with performance and sculpture.
Today, I want to talk about my ongoing body of work titled Variations.
I have been developing Variations, a series of audio-visual performances, since 2017. I create live drawings in space with materials that are often formless, sometimes dispersing sawdust and flour into enclosed spaces, or using lights and mirrors to make improvised shadow formations. These constellations are triggered by a musical score in a live performance.
My Variations series has been recognized via the Barbican Arts Group Trust Main Prize Award, selected by Florence Peake and Tai Shani in 2018. The series has been exhibited at galleries including Florence Trust and Arebyte in London; Space 118 in Mumbai; and Hangar in Barcelona.
Hangar Variations (2021)
In Hangar Variations (2021), pictured above, I created drawings and temporarily balanced sculptures with locally sourced building materials, from wood and steel beams to piles of sand and ceramic roof tiles. Casting torchlight across the mirrored surfaces that held these compositions, I created moving, cinematic shadow drawings that came alive on three large surrounding film screens. At the same time, I used contact microphones, loopers and reverb pedals to explore how the sounds of the objects I improvised with could be processed to create their own live soundtrack.
In collaboration with musician Fabian Jendle, I developed this project into a live performance called Projection Trails (2022) at CasCaDas gallery in Barcelona:
Projection Trails (2022) from Claire Nichols on Vimeo.
In the Hangar Variations and this partner piece, Projection Trails, sculpture, moving image and sound become a kind of hybrid performance.
At the core of my Variations, I am interested in how improvisation and live performance offer meeting points between the fields of sculpture, movement and sound.
I am currently developing a project with three dancers from École des Sables in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal, where we are exploring how choreography, dance, and somatic techniques can propose new ways to improvise with found objects, lights and mirrors.
You can view a video of the first phase of this project, École des Sables Variations (2022) here: https://vimeo.com/804888096, password: preview
I am working towards a live performance with the same three dancers, where we will translate the École des Sables Variations to an interdisciplinary space in Dakar later in 2023 (venue info to be announced soon). Alongside this project, I am working towards my first solo exhibition in Portugal at Maus Hábitos, Porto, opening in late September 2023.
Please follow me on Instagram @clairenicholsartist to see the development of these projects. My email is [email protected] if you want to get in touch.