In London, at the end of May, Richard Saltoun Gallery presented “Enactment” – a solo exhibition of new installations, sculptures, canvases, and drawings by Florence Peake. A month prior, just across the river, an interdisciplinary installation by Peake opened at Southwark Park Galleries. The shows ran in and out of sync with another. At the time of writing, both London exhibitions have ended, soon to travel on to Towner Eastbourne and Fruitmarket, Edinburgh.
“Factual Actual: Ensemble,” at Southwark Park Galleries, was itself split across two sites. In the Lake Gallery, a 50-meter-long canvas frieze ribboned along the walls, its frenetic ground of mark-making created from a two-day community dance workshop for over 55s. The canvas was then brought back to Peake’s studio and refined. Over six weeks – and six meters at a time – Peake shaped those gestural marks (that, as she later shared in conversation, were somewhat derivative of a particular strain of 1970s feminist performance) into a continuous narrative of cartoon-like figures gesticulating and interpenetrating. The strange bodies – conjoined by limb, mouth, and anus – tumble as if propelled by some invisible current. Caught in metamorphic flux, they form tangled impasto Möbius loops, confusing boundaries between interior and exterior.
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