Artist Commission

About the commission: Encountering the unruly archives of contemporary art at DJCAD

This artist commission is part of our Royal Society of Edinburgh-funded workshop project (running until 31 January 2021) and aims to explore archives of ephemeral, processual, networked or multimodal artworks online through another artist’s practice. The commissioned artist was selected through an Open Call that was open for artists at any stage of their careers and from any field of practice (including visual art, design, theatre, dance, music).

The commissioned artist: Holly Davey

Since graduating from Goldsmith College, London, Holly Davey has exhibited across the UK and internationally. Recent exhibitions include A Script for an Archive, at Chapter, Cardiff, (2021); Danielle Arnaud Gallery, London, (2020); and The British School of Rome, Rome, (2019); as well as in 2018, The Conversation, at g39, Cardiff, and The Hardwick Gallery, Cheltenham Spa; and Charcoal is the Colour of Absence, The Newbridge Project, Newcastle.

She received a Creative Wales Award in 2017 and was the Creative Wales Fellow at The British School of Rome in 2019. She is currently studying a PhD at The Slade School of Fine Art, London.

Artist Statement

“Within my current practice, I explore ideas surrounding absence, place and the body. I work predominately with archives and collections mostly online and library/museum based with a particular focus on female voices within these spaces. I am interested in the heritage of a location or collection with its lost and largely forgotten social history especially around women’s lives. I am curious to research and develop ideas that explore notions of fact and fiction, using the language of film production to blur boundaries and invite my audience to question what is real? I often use the motif of a cut-out and the absence of space, to represent what is missing from the archival and collection space. This way of working results in large–scale installations including photography, sculpture, text, video and performance.”

Proposed work for the commission

“I will be encountering and reactivating the Rewind archive, with a particular focus on the video works by women artists. I am keen to use this opportunity and commission to radically think about how we can approach working with archival material, changing the assumed narrative into something more real, truthful and complete. Most archives only tell half the story of their content, often marginalising women’s voices, even if they are there. I am keen to approach this commission, by inverting/reimaging the already existing female narrative, readdressing the gender balance with the archive and revealing something currently unseen. I will research the archive both online and in-person, spending time with the original collection and researching these women’s lives more widely.

I then plan to produce a series of responses in written and photographic collage form creating a fragmented conversation between the works, creating a character for each and writing a dialogue between them. This will then be a split-screen online live zoom sharing/reading, like a call and response, between image and text. The live sharing will have a BSL interpreter and live captioning. A recording of the live stream will be available on the website as an artwork alongside the photographic collages and text produced.”

Artwork Launch

The artwork will be launched in January 2022 [date TBC] as a live performance event on Zoom with accompanying artist talk. The artwork will then be displayed on this website and will also be accessioned into the DJCAD Art & Design Collection.