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Entangled² (Theatre II)|Matt's Gallery London | 9th October - 1st December 2013

Materials: Inflatable spheres, HD projection from Blu-ray, wood, glass, carpet, framed photographs, ventriloquist dummy, stools, stereo sound ampified with radio headphones

Matt's Gallery, 42-44 Copperfield Rd, London E3 4RR

In Entangled²(Theatre II) Lindsay Seers returns to androgynous themes present in her 2009 work It has to be this way at Matt's Gallery. The Renaissance 'theatre of the world' motif of this previous work is bastardised by Seers into vaudeville. For Seers this theatrical genre (vaudeville) presents a series of segments in which the artifice of the staging is absurdly evident and failure is omnipresent. Entangled² presents the Victorian music hall legends Hetty King and Vesta Tilly (both male impersonators), performed by contemporary actors. Both Tilly and King performed in Mile End at the Paragon Theatre, now the Genesis Cinema.

Biography plays a key role in Seers’ work, but is rarely used in an ordinary or straight sense. Stories and lives are used as a more complex narrative vehicle in which coincidence, chance and chaos seem far more at play than any singular notion of freewill or determinism. Entangled² mirrors Seers’ on-going investigation towards the synthesising of classic dichotomies between self/other, male/female, truth/lies.

Seers treats the past as a myth made of parts that seem to make a coherent whole, of which every element is true, but a fiction is created in the collaging of these fragments as a misconstrued totality.

Context is everything in these works. The gallery is transformed into a hybrid theatre set, a booth, a cinema of sorts, a show case, a shop window, a viewing room. It is work about mutiplicities to be seen by two people through two windows in two rooms on two screens but this twining is not simplicitic as each entitiy carries a myriad of other associations and identities - nothing is singular. The ephemeral screens are inflated balls. They take on different guises such as eyeballs, beach balls and platonic forms. Enfolded in curtains, their shifting connotations pass across their plastic surfaces, creating a meeting point where expression and form commingle.

As usual we enter in the midst of things. The evolution of Seers’ subjects and structures are buffeted on a restless sea, of which she has limited control as the story writes itself and is as fractured and as incoherent as any real event. The forms of her structures arise in the making - each part modifies the other. The very creation of the work evolves from a collection of on-going associations that divide and grow like fractals in an ever-burgeoning pattern.

 

Time Out says
Thursday Oct 24 2013

Every 15 minutes, with rocket-launch precision, two visitors are ushered into a tiny theatre – an intimate cinema nestled within Matt’s cavernous gallery. Seated side by side, you and your companion find yourselves at eye level with a pair of illuminated blue balls. Next, these spherical screens (as this is what they turn out to be) present their audience with the same image, doubled. Another intoxicatingly fragmentary documentary from contemporary myth-maker Lindsay Seers begins.

With verve and vulnerability, actors on screen perform the roles of two male impersonators, Hetty King and Vesta Tilley, who shot to music hall stardom just over a century ago. As the twinned globes tell their story, intermittently transforming into disco balls, dandelions and winking eyes, the work pulls its coupled viewers deep into a rabbit hole of dualities, where tangled tangents send you off in entirely new directions. One such departure has an actor explain how heterochromia (eyes of contrasting colour) can be the result of non-identical twins fusing together in utero to become single being – a chimera.

Through ideas of merging and separation, dichotomies – between an actor and the role they play, female and male, fact and fiction – are teasingly picked apart. Is there such a thing as a coherent whole? After your allotted quarter of an hour, you and your fellow viewer will emerge: the same, but subtly different.

Charmian Griffin

Entangled² was originally commissioned and curated by Jacqui Davies, University for the Creative Arts (School of Fine Arts) in association with Turner Contemporary in 2012.

Matt’s Gallery is supported by Arts Council England and the exhibition was also supported by Genesis Cinema, London.