Louisa Fairclough  A Song Cycle for the Ruins of a Psychiatric Unit
Louisa Fairclough  Song Cycle for the ruins of a Psychiatric Unit

Photograph by Richard Jeffrey Gray  

Private view: Friday 10 November  6 - 9pm

11 November - 9 December 2017

A Song Cycle for the Ruins of a Psychiatric Unit is Louisa Fairclough’s third exhibition at Danielle Arnaud Gallery. It takes the remains of a psychiatric hospital on the edge of a city as a simulacrum for psychic ruin, and features a new installation and short film created from audio and footage recorded at the former hospital.

Fairclough worked with composer Richard Glover to devise a series of vocal compositions that were performed by singer Samuel Middleton and tape loop artist George McKenzie. Each of the songs was recorded as a private ritual in one of the abandoned rooms, influenced by the unique nature and history of the site.  

FEAR LIFE DEATH HOPE (2017) was sung as glissandi and recorded layer upon layer on a series of tape loops. It materialises within the gallery as lengths of 16mm film that rise from four projectors creating a spatial and sonic drawing. Vocal harmonies emit from the bodies of the projectors, but the lamps cast no light - the film having been exposed with no image.

The short film A Rose (2017) was filmed in another building on the site, entangled in vegetation and open to the elements. An upturned shelving unit in the remains of the room provided a platform onto which a lament was performed. The repetition of a cluster of words creates a harmony in an evolving composite on a tape loop. The end words - erase, erase, erase - arise above the rest.

Fairclough and Glover will present a live tape loop and reel-to-reel performance on the evening of the private view, performed by Samuel Middleton and George McKenzie.

An accompanying essay by Al Cameron will be available as part of the exhibition.


VOICE IMAGES - On Friday 24 November Fairclough will present a collaborative choral performance with composer Richard Glover at the Swiss Church in London. Part of Being and Appearing, a programme of contemporary art curated for the Swiss Church by Kirsty White. For more information please click here.


Louisa Fairclough's practice takes the form of film loops, performances, field recordings and drawings. She is currently working on a new performance entitled VOICE IMAGES in collaboration with composer Richard Glover, to be performed by Dieci Voices at The Swiss Church in London on 24/11/17. She was awarded the CMIR Arnolfini bursary 2016 for the sculptural film Awkward Relaxed (forthcoming). 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.

Richard Glover is a composer and writer based in Birmingham, UK. His music explores gradual process, perception in reductionist sound environments, performer interaction, and experimental approaches to notation. His portrait cd Logical Harmonies was released by Another Timbre to widespread acclaim in 2013, and his music has been performed internationally by ensembles such as the Bozzini Quartet, musikFabrik, BBC Concert Orchestra, and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

He co-authored the book Overcoming Form with Bryn Harrison, with whom he is currently working on a major publication with Bloomsbury on the temporal experience of experimental musics, due for release in 2018. He has published book chapters and articles on Phill Niblock, Minimalism and Technology, and the perception of sustained tone musics. He is currently Reader in Music at the University of Wolverhampton.

Al Cameron is a curator and writer based in Bristol, and a member of Bristol Experimental and Expanded Film. His ongoing doctorate research explores histories of delirious practice in the twentieth century.