Claire Nichols is a London-based artist whose work plays with the philosophical and physical spaces of the studio and the gallery. Nichols explores these arenas through series of drawings, sculptures and performances that she sees as always ‘in process’ and in an ever-evolving relationship with the artist and the viewer.
Recent work includes a site specific installation at the Florence Trust, The FT Variations, 2016-17, where Nichols started by folding half of the walls of her studio inwards to become a floor. These white floor boards and remaining white walls formed a kind of stage and a performative studio space, evolving in full view. Sourcing objects from around the residency site and its locality over a period of six months, abstract constellations grew and altered, forming a series of chance constructions and evolving drawings in space. The rungs of an overturned ladder developed a visual rhythm, plastic gels fell to lick tubes of light, whilst sawdust gathered from a nearby studio was sifted and smoothed into the rolls of a corrugated iron roof. A palette of visual sounds emerged and their imagined musicality was amplified through changes in light and shadow plays.
Nichols also often makes work in conjunction with other artists, from her series of performative conversations in empty gallery spaces (The Empty Gallery Interviews, 2009-11) and her live publishing projects (antepress, 2009-11), to recent collaborations with choreographer and dancer Hanae Mura (in response to Espaços de Vidro, 2015), artist Jennifer Taylor (Lacuna, 2016), and composer Matthew James Kelly (in response to The FT Variations, 2017). In her works with Mura, Taylor and Kelly, Nichols explored playful provocations with found objects, and improvised movement in response to demarcated geometric spaces. These live performances are conceived as an extension of Nichols’ sculptural practice and created new scenarios that have also come to exist as films and photographs.
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