Louisa Fairclough
Louisa Fairclough, A Rose, 2017
A Rose  2017 1 x 16mm film looped (colour, silent, 9 minutes) projected onto a suspended acrylic screen, 1 x performance for a field recording pressed onto dubplate vinyl (20 minutes). Installation view by Oskar Proctor

Louisa Fairclough lives and works in Bristol. She graduated from Slade School of Fine Art with MFA (Distinction) Fine Art Media in 2000. Using voice, light, ground and tidal water as material, her work takes the form of film loops, field recordings, performance, sound installations and drawings.

In 2016 she was awarded the CMIR Arnolfini bursary for the sculptural film Awkward Relaxed. Her essay Sounding grief: The Severn Estuary as an emotional soundscape co-authored with Owain Jones led to drawings and field recordings from the Thames​ that were shown at Estuary Festival (2016). Can People See Me Swallowing showed at Contact Film Festival, Apiary Studios (2016), Absolute Pitch and Composition for a Low Tide were commissioned by Whitstable Biennale 2014, Jeannie commissioned by Bristol New Music in 2014, Song of Grief shown at Film in Space, Camden Art Centre (2013), Bore Song acquired by CAS for The Wilson (2013) and recently shown at Rojas + Rubensteen Projects in Miami (2017). Louisa is Associate Lecturer at Oxford Brookes and University of Falmouth. She is passionate about experimental film, and co-founded BEEF in Bristol in 2015.


> Curriculum vitae
> Press & Essays
> Artist website
> Exhibitions at the gallery: A Song Cycle for the Ruins of a Psychiatric Unit  2017, I wish I could be a stone  2014, Ground    Truth  2011, Nowhere Else But Here  2004
Louisa Fairclough, FEAR LIFE DEATH HOPE 
2017  4 x 16mm projectors, 4 x film loops with optical sound suspended from meat hooks  Installation view by Oskar Proctor
I wish I could be a stone
2014  installation  photograph by Oskar Proctor
Absolute Pitch II
2014  installation  photograph by Oskar Proctor
Absolute Pitch II
2014  installation  photograph by Oskar Proctor
Absolute Pitch
2014  installation  Whitstable Biennale 2014
Compositions for a Low Tide
2014  performance  Whitstable Biennale 2014
devised with Richard Glover and performed by Rochester Cathedral choristers
Can People See Me Swallowing
2014  choral film for a stairwell  installation at Spike Island
16mm film, voice and light
devised with Richard Glover, singer Karen Middleton, sound production Richard Jeffrey-Gray
sketchbook photograph and installation documentation by Milo Newman
Your Vivid Imaginings
2014  from a series of photographs of the artist’s sister’s sketchbooks, black and white, hand processed, 16 x 18cm
2014  sound installation  Arnolfini  Bristol
two field recording monologues pressed onto vinyl and played from two turntables with headphones
commissioned by PRS Bristol New Music, performed by Gloucester Cathedral Youth Choir
photograph by Sam Francis
Song of Grief
2013  film sculpture  installation at the Camden Arts Centre  photogropah by Andy Keate
Bore Song
2011  16mm film loop with sound projected on float glass (installation detail)

and I find you in the reeds, a trickle coming out of a bark, a foal of a river - Alice Oswald, Dart

Louisa Fairclough’s Bore Song speaks grief’s language to those who know it, and cannot fail to move those who don’t. I watch it in early June, days before the third anniversary of my mother’s death and I have to look away. As the figure in the film calls to the water, a discordant minor note, something in the work meets a primal sense of loss; a need to shout, to call out to a presence beyond response. I return to it weeks later and this time can watch it repeatedly, able to notice its nuances, to appreciate it beyond self-identification. In this way, my experience with the work mimics the pattern of grief itself. Sometimes it overwhelms you, its rawness an eruption. But mostly it is just there, a hum in your existence. The sound of water lapping on the shore. Grief is often compared to a wave and in Fairclough’s film the metaphor becomes literal. A bore tide surges, the singer (the bereaved) surrounded but not submerged.

The materiality of the work, and the form of its presentation, is crucial. First presented at the gallery in 2011, it was shown alongside Song of Grief, the sounds of the two works merging to create a minor sixth. The film is projected onto float glass, its ephemeral quality a manifestation of the slippery nature of bereavement. This is a work of loss, yes, but mostly of human experience; of the melancholy song we all sing, at some point or another. - Tess Charnley

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