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TUMULT | Catriona Whiteford

Private View Thursday 14 March, 7-9pm

Friday 15 March – Sunday 23 March, 12pm – 4pm


TUMULT presented a new body of work by Scottish artist Catriona Whiteford, in her first UK solo exhibition. The exhibition brought together sculpture,  photography and print, each formed from an ongoing examination of memory, insomnia and counter-consciousness. Pushing the physical limits of sculptural materials, this body of work served as a shift and a starting point for new ways of exploring familiar narratives.

Central to the exhibition was a large-scale sculptural installation created using a flexible concrete impregnated fabric. The sculpture draped and swelled from the walls of 11 Avenue Studios, confronting viewers with the contorted, continuously shifting movement adopted by fabric. This quiet conflict between stasis and flux is closely related to the artist’s interpretation of sleep as an empty promise, an attempt to unlatch from consciousness.


“A state of mind somewhat analogous to that which prevails in dreaming, also takes place during reverie. There is the same want of balance in the faculties, which are almost equally ill regulated, and disposed to indulge in similar extravagances. Reverie proceeds from the inability of the mind to direct itself strongly. “

Robert Macnish, The Philosophy of Sleep


The title for the exhibition, ‘TUMULT’, refers to the complex intersections of mind and matter while the brain undresses for sleep.  The works presented were drawn from sensations of lucidity, confusion, unrest and chaos, furrowed amongst conscious and unconscious strata and tumbled onto the gallery floor as a set of negotiations.

The works on display incorporated various structural properties in concrete, clay, metal and paper, each acknowledging the power and frailty contained within tension and stillness. This tension within sleep is referred to in Japanese as ‘kanashibari’ (binding tightly), and its full translation ‘bound up with metal’ refers to the effects of sleep paralysis.

By creating structures reminiscent of active conflicts through notions of comfort and discomfort, the exhibition suggests moments of vacancy; relief, absence, presence and the contortion of objects from their original intentions. As with previous work, Whiteford explores areas of unconscious and conscious positions and physical space as something simultaneously active and dormant.

Supported by 11 Avenue Studios as part of their 2019 Programme.

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