Press release: Nikita Gale, Some Weather
CIRCA PRESENTS NIKITA GALE IN COLLABORATION WITH CHISENHALE GALLERY ON SCREENS IN LONDON, TOKYO AND SEOUL
1-30 June 2021
CIRCA, Piccadilly Circus, W1
Preview the films HERE
Los Angeles-based artist Nikita Gale (Nikita Gale/the artist) summons a storm of colour and light to London, Seoul and Tokyo, shifting the urban climates in a major new commission that marks the CIRCA programme’s expansion from their home on Piccadilly Lights, now broadcast across screens in two new cities.
Curated this month in collaboration with Chisenhale Gallery, London, directed by Zoé Whitley, Gale’s new series of four films titled ‘SOME WEATHER’ spotlights the creative labour of Black women whose voices feature in some of rock music’s most acclaimed recordings, from the Rolling Stones to David Bowie. Four films — ‘Heat’, ‘Fog’, ‘Blizzard’, and ‘Rain’ — will feature throughout June, appearing daily with the unpredictability of weather patterns. Each takes on a different radiant hue, employing the immensity of these cities’ advertising screens to shift the atmosphere of their respective urban settings.
Gale, an artist who works using sound, technology and sculptural installation, notes: “Some of the most definitive recordings in the genre of rock and roll have used the voices of Black women as background singers. This creative labour has been used to foreground the performances of some of the most iconic rock performers of all time, mostly men, many of them British: The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Phil Collins, to name a few. In the ecology of both the stage and the recording, all of these elements that are not the band or the lead singer become a kind of sonic and cultural ‘weather.”
In SOME WEATHER, the singers’ voices, their physical presence, and the context of their original performances blur. Each film features archival footage of background singers rendered unrecognisable, manipulated to such a degree that their images exceed the scale of easy consumption. Obscured, they commune with weather patterns that beam out across London’s iconic Piccadilly Lights and two new CIRCA screening venues at Seoul’s K-Pop Square and Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station, in addition to appearing online each evening at 20:21 BST on the CIRCA website.
The artist asks us to consider what capacity such monumental screenings have to change the atmosphere of their surroundings. In a vivid haze of immersive geoengineering, the artist re-orientates audiences to the unsung contributions of backing vocalists. Adopting writer Toni Morrison’s use of the term ‘weather’ in Beloved, Gale describes ‘weather’ as “the slippery space between bodies and atmosphere where breath joins the wind, sweat joins the ocean, and so forth. The image of these performing figures is obscured and transformed in such a way that they become visual representations of some types of weather: heat, fog, rain, and snow.” They can be experienced for a brief moment but remain ultimately inscrutable.
Gale’s work straddles image and text, memory and identity. Through explorations of human beings and their invisible yet indispensable labour, the artist reveals the inner-workings of creative production and processes of achieving innovation. In spring 2022 Chisenhale Gallery will present the first UK solo exhibition by Gale as part of their Commissions Programme.
Zoé Whitley, Director, Chisenhale Gallery, quote: “Nikita Gale is an artist of consistently unique insights. As a sculptor who manipulates sound, a thinker so deft with words, and a maker of genuinely surprising new encounters, it was clear that Gale would meet the challenge of creating a first public artwork with verve. That we have four new videos only demonstrates the ambition and variety of the artist’s practice, with more exciting things to come in 2022.”
Josef O’Connor, Artistic Director, CIRCA, quote: “We’re honoured to be collaborating this month with Chisenhale Gallery, expanding on their influential exhibition history and experimental vision to present this new and ambitious work by Nikita Gale. Breathing fresh possibilities from our home on Piccadilly Lights around the world, SOME WEATHER will also be shown across screens in Seoul and Tokyo, where audiences can now also experience the CIRCA programme throughout the year.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Please note: Nikita Gale does not use pronouns in writing, so any press or writing that goes out should use either their name or “the artist” or some variation of the two.
PREVIEW THE FOUR FILMS ‘HEAT, ‘FOG’, ‘BLIZZARD’, & ‘RAIN’ HERE
Nikita Gale is an artist based in Los Angeles. Nikita holds a BA in Anthropology with an emphasis in Archaeological Studies from Yale University and an MFA in New Genres from UCLA. Gale’s work applies the lenses of material culture and sound studies to consider how authority is negotiated within political, social, and economic systems. The artist has exhibited with various national and international institutions, including MoMA PS1; The Studio Museum in Harlem (USA); Cubitt (UK); Nottingham Contemporary (UK); Ceysson & Benetiere (France); and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (USA). Nikita serves on the Board of Directors for Grex, the West Coast affiliate of the AK Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems. Gale’s work has been featured in various publications including Mousse, Texte Zur Kunst, The New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, Art21, Frieze, Vogue, and Flash Art.
Chisenhale Gallery was founded by artists. The same experimental vision and spirit of possibility that changed an empty veneer factory and brewery warehouse into an art gallery guides our work today. We commission and produce contemporary art, supporting international and UK-based artists to make their most ambitious work to date by pursuing new directions in their practices. We are committed to our audiences having access to the energy and ideas of a widening artist community. Chisenhale Gallery has an award winning, 38-year history as one of London’s most innovative forums for art. To discover more, click here.
CIRCA is a pioneering digital art platform that presents new ideas, every evening at 20:21 BST, on London’s iconic Piccadilly Lights and broadcast across a global network of screens in Seoul and Tokyo. Rooted in time and bringing people together, each month CIRCA invites a different artist to create new work that considers our world circa 2021.
Since launching in October 2020 on London’s iconic Piccadilly Lights, CIRCA has commissioned work from rising and established names including Ai Weiwei, Cauleen Smith, Eddie Peake, Anne Imhof, Patti Smith, Tony Cokes, Emma Talbot, Vivienne Westwood, James Barnor, and David Hockney.
Created by artist Josef O’Connor, CIRCA pioneered a new way for the public to engage with art and support creative communities through the sale of affordable prints by exhibiting artists. Each month, #CIRCAECONOMY profits are circulated back into helping build an economy that commissions new public art in our communities, nurturing more diverse cultural industries, and helping support emerging creative potential.
This May, CIRCA and Dazed join forces to launch Class of 2021, an open call for artists around the world to have their work shown on screens in London, Seoul and Tokyo, alongside access to free studio spaces in London and one lucky finalist to be awarded a #CIRCAECONOMY cash prize of £30,000. To enter or discover more, click here.
CIRCA has been made possible by Landsec, landlord of Piccadilly Lights, who have kindly donated media space, as a helpful boost to the cultural scene in London’s West End. We are grateful to Piccadilly Lights, Yunika Vision, CJ Powercast, Ocean Outdoor, Heart of London, Barakat Contemporary, Lisson, and Gagosian for their continued support enabling our free public art programme.
CIRCA would especially like to thank Zoé Whitley and the team at Chisenhale Gallery for their support this month.
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