Sonia Boyce

Sonia Boyce

Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts)

Sonia Boyce, Oh Adelaide (still), 2010. © Sonia Boyce. Courtesy the artist.

June 1, 2013

Sonia Boyce
Scat: Sound and Collaboration
5 June–27 July 2013

Press view: 4 June, 10am–noon
Preview: 4 June, 6:30–8:30pm

Iniva at Rivington Place 
London EC2A 3BA

The acclaimed artist Sonia Boyce is collaborating with Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) by occupying a series of different spaces for her solo exhibition in which she explores her interest in sound. Presented across the two exhibition spaces in Rivington Place as well as Iniva’s Stuart Hall Library and its Learning Space, Scat: Sound and Collaboration centres upon the significance of sound in art and brings together two immersive video works for the first time.

In For you, only you (2007), Boyce orchestrates an unlikely meeting between an Early Music consort, Alamire, and a contemporary sound artist, Mikhail Karikis. Boyce’s video captures the performance of Karikis’s sound-work, which in turn imagines an encounter between his fractured vocalisations and a deconstructed Renaissance masterpiece—Tu solus qui facis mirabilia (You alone can do wonders) by the Franco-Flemish composer Josquin Desprez. While challenging the boundaries between noise and music, For you, only you interrogates notions of harmony and dissonance, conformity and difference.

Oh Adelaide (2010), a collaborative work by Sonia Boyce and sound artist Ain Bailey, incorporates found film footage of the jazz singer and entertainer, Adelaide Hall (1901–1993). As Boyce says, ‘Oh Adelaide is a digital mash-up where vision and sound sit awkwardly side by side. I decided to treat this digital footage as something elastic. Light and dazzling whiteness becomes the material presence that reveals and threatens to obliterate everything in its path, which Adelaide Hall and her accompanying pianist emerge and disappear within. As the audience, we’re urged to fight to keep track of her—to capture her.’ 

This question of playing with history is a recurring theme in Boyce’s work. Combined with the title’s emphasis on dispersal, the works presented in Scat have a visceral effect and impact on the visitor’s sense of time and place, and encourage them to reflect on the significance of sound in different settings. 

The video works are presented alongside The Devotional Collection, Boyce’s archive of CDs, cassettes, vinyl records and other ephemera. This is a collective memorialisation of black British women in the music industry that Boyce has been developing, through the involvement of a wide range of participants, since 1999. As a result, the exhibition places a spotlight on her interest in the archive as arts practice. ‘Just the very act of putting something in an archive suggests its future use is beyond the control of the past. But we don’t have to settle for the past as it is presented. The past is not fixed.’

The Devotional Collection includes The Devotional Wallpaper (2008–), a work in which Boyce sets out a roll call of 200 female luminaries, memorialised as a large-scale printed wallpaper. As she says, ‘Many of the named performers would probably hate being collected under that rubric. The act of collecting is not on their behalf, it’s not to represent them. It’s really about an unplanned way that a diverse range of public listeners have built a collective memory.’

Sonia Boyce has had a long-standing relationship with Iniva. Indeed, an artist residency sponsored by Iniva in 1997 kickstarted the particular focus on sound that we see in her work today. Initially an image-maker and painter, more recently Boyce has become increasingly involved in collaborative practice. 

For you, only you was commissioned by the Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art in partnership with the De La Warr Pavilion, Locus+, Milton Keynes Gallery and Model Arts and Niland Gallery and with the support of Arts Council England.

Full details are on the Iniva website:

An extended programme of events runs alongside the exhibition season including:

“Good Morning Freedom”
13 June, 6:30pm
Artist Sonia Boyce gives a lecture on her own practice and long term interest in sound.

Curator’s tour
6 June, 6:30pm, free
Tessa Jackson, Iniva Chief Executive and co-curator of Scat, leads a tour of Sonia Boyce’s exhibition introducing her work and her use of the building.

“Nonsense: working with voices”
20 June, 6:30pm
Mikhail Karikis, co-collaborator on the work For you, only you, explores his work as a sound artist through performance, film and discussion with Sonia Boyce.

“The Sonic in Contemporary Art”
27 June, 6:30pm
Panel discussion focusing on sound practices and the sonic in contemporary art, chaired by Electra’s Irene Revell. 

“Typing Music”
4 July, 6:30pm
An electroacoustic exploration by sound artist Ain Bailey, co-collaborator on the work Oh Adelaide.

New limited edition print by Sonia Boyce
Sonia Boyce has produced a four-colour lithograph limited edition print titled Good Morning Freedom especially to coincide with the Scat exhibition. It has been developed through archive materials from The Devotional Collection. Boyce has sampled the 1970s hit ‘Good Morning Freedom,’ an uplifting song that reached number 10 in the UK singles charts in 1970. The track is performed by the band Blue Mink and features Madeline Bell, a US session singer who settled in the UK having started out singing gospel in the United States. The vibrant print communicates the spirit and effervescence of the song. 
Edition of 100, signed and numbered. 

For further information and images please contact Iniva press and marketing: 
Margred Pryce, mpryce [​at​] / T 020 7749 1246

Sonia Boyce
Sonia Boyce is a British Afro-Caribbean artist, living and working in London. Her early work addresses issues of race, gender and contemporary urban experience expressed in large pastel drawings and photographic collages. Since the 1990s her work has shifted materially and conceptually to incorporate a variety of media that combines photographs, collages, films, prints, drawings, installation and sound. Increasingly, she works with other people to produce ‘improvisational collaborations,’ with recent work bringing the audience into sharper focus as an integral part of the artwork. By doing this Boyce demonstrates how cultural differences might be articulated, mediated and enjoyed.

About Iniva
Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) works at the intersection of politics and society. It engages with new ideas and emerging debates in the contemporary visual arts, reflecting in particular the diversity of contemporary society. We work with artists, curators, creative producers, writers and the public to explore the vitality of visual culture. Iniva programmes at Rivington Place, off-site and virtually.

Visitor information
Rivington Place opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 11am–6pm; Late Thursdays 11am–9pm; Saturday noon–6pm, closed Sundays and Mondays. Admission free. 
Nearest Tubes: Old Street/Liverpool Street/Shoreditch High St. For Rivington Place enquiries, contact:
T +44 (0)20 7749 1240 / info [​at​] /


Sonia Boyce at Iniva at Rivington Place
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June 1, 2013

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