Héloïse Godfrey at Sherman Cymru

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On Saturday 27 October Héloïse Godfrey presented a film called ‘Moving Narratives’ at Sherman Cymru, which also marked the start of her exhibition of the same name. For the past three months, Godfrey has been the first Artist-in-Residence at Sherman Cymru since its refurbishment.

The evening started with a group of 4 dancers who moved to a sequence of ‘abstract’ noises which they listened to on headphones. Members of the audience also had a chance to listen to the sound, through a second set of interconnected headphones. It was a particularly strange experience, and I felt very drawn into the performance- even though I there was no obvious narrative I could make out to follow the dancers’ movements. In turn, each dancer fell from a standing position into various contorted positions, sliding on the floor, circling and repeating their own movements. They were so focused on stretching their bodies that they became quite hypnotizing.

Interestingly, at this point it became increasingly difficult not to notice the environment we were all standing in. There seemed to be a wonderful connection with the architecture of Sherman Cymru, which offered the ‘silent, dead space’ to the dancers to fill. The white columns in the cafe-bar and the curves on the inside of the building were showing themselves to be relatively anthropomorphic. Though unlikely to have been done purposefully, the movements of the dancers mirrored the architecture of the building.

I couldn’t help but imaging that if the performance had taken place in an old building, the history of that place would have interfered with the performance, attacking the context of the dance from the outside environment.

After the performance came the film screening. The film explored the preparatory stages that an actor or performance artist goes through before going out on stage. This made me think about the ritualistic processes many people go through before their own daily performances: putting on make-up or going for a run before work. These events, which are most certainly events and not material objects, have much resonance for one person but could be seen as irrational to another. There is therefore, ‘ritual in performance’ which in Godfrey’s work is dealt with in a comical way.

The ‘Moving Narratives’ exhibition in the cafe-bar area is open to the public from Tuesday 23 October – Saturday 17 November during Sherman Cymru’s opening hours.

Blog post logo: Courtesy of Sherman Cymru

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