DARK MATTER (Sotto Voce)




On residency at Museums Sheffield, I worked with the museum collection and the Ruskin collection. DARK MATTER is a response to working with these collections and is a collective collection and features works by female artists, creating a 'document', an all-female position in time, addressing and suggesting an alternative to the fiction of the museum narrative. The work assumes to correct our historical inattention to the complexity of female/other narrative by retrospectively occupying the female/other perspective, thus presenting an unmoored ‘history’ not tied to anyone else’s taxonomy and redressing the gender imbalance in our institutions.

Collections are about assertions of authority and power, but they are also about perspective, the creation of histories and the organisation of obsessions. Sharing my platform as an artist to include the works of others, may reveal the networks involved in forming a collection, more than just a set of objects, possessions or prizes, ours is a display of connections revealing, perhaps, the dark matter. DARK MATTER is research into collective alternatives to counter the culture industry, as well as the biggest problem for cosmologists and astrophysicists. Dark matter is still a theory.




DARK MATTER featured work by Anne Byerley, Allie Carr, Lesley Guy, Alice Midmore, Maja Mihajlovic, Brett Murphy, Natalie Willis and minerals from John Ruskin’s collection. The exhibition text was written collaboratively by Lesley Guy, Maja Mihajlovic, Natalie Willis and Lea Torp Nielsen.




The work had two incarnations; at Sheffield Institute of Art and at Persistence Works (YAS) both from 27/7 - 28/8/2018.




Exhibition text:


Dark Matter (sotto voce)


‘The lowered voice, the under-the-breath of the sotto voce is a generative (stubborn) force of our labour combining the ideas of transmission of sound waves, or the combined work as a choir of our voices - an oasis of hope. Because we don’t just want to be loved, we try, struggling sometimes, to make it on our terms, while muttering under our breaths; this is the signal we want to transmit; the narrative of hunters, gatherers, scavengers - trying to absorb as much energy as we can, collaborating over distance or in proximity - always acknowledging each other. Rubbing our energy together to keep warm, rejecting the white noise of the current narratives of rising Fascism, blatant (and persistent) racism, and of the Patriarchy, to allow the quieter, unpracticed voices, or the low hum of hysterical internal sounds to air.




And so, we join our voices together, sotto voce, towards an unimagined utopia…’ 



Text: Lesley Guy, Maja Mihajlovic, Natalie Willis and Lea Torp Nielsen, 2018.