The Proscenium, which is a stage of reverie and ordinary dramas, will temporarily occupy a woodland clearing at Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer, Buckinghamshire. It's location “en plein air” is inspired by...
The Proscenium, which is a stage of reverie and ordinary dramas, will temporarily occupy a woodland clearing at Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer, Buckinghamshire.
It's location “en plein air” is inspired by the theatrical culture that flourished first in Ancient Greece in 700 BC. Greeks built open-air theatres with bowl-shaped semi-circular arenas and prosceniums, where the public could watch the performances of Greek comedy or tragedy. This allowed all theatre activity to be performed in a single place and time, and everyone came into a common space and shared a similar experience. The Romans continued and expanded on this concept, added a monumental wall backstage and generally made the structures more grandiose.
My work explores the space or “ imaginary wall” at the front of the stage, The Proscenium, through which the audience sees the action unfold. This Fourth Wall is this boundary between the spectator and the setting. Theatre allowed for the flourishing of a common culture and sharing of experiences. These experiences lessened feelings of isolation and made people feel part of a community. From community comes democracy. By the same token, when democracy is not possible, as under a dictatorship, artists are not free to express themselves, and the culture of common experiences disappears or goes underground.
Theatre throughout the following centuries created this egalitarian relationship between the performers and the audience. Spectators could chat to their neighbours during or after the performance, and could even boo or otherwise express their displeasure or boredom - this before we saw the introduction of behavioural norms during the Victorian era. The barrier between the parties was more permeable, the wall facing the audience was invisible.
The discourse about freedom is caught in the wonder of this summer phenomenon. Listening to the woodland at Fulmer, I have worked with pianist Kamilla Arku to create a play which is acted by a primordial chorus of pianos, birdsong, whispered wishes, and sung and spoken incantations of Thomas Hardy's poem, Proud Songsters. The visitor becomes an actor and spectator in a new visual, sonic and natural landscape: free to roam and explore, to let the senses intertwine, to weave their own voice and perspective into the terrain.
This installation therefore contemplates the theatre of the world through different scenes and windows, playing with materials and processes, and with the senses and perceptions of spectators, reminding them that looking is a relational act based on selection and exclusion. Going through the tactile and intellectual processes during the making of the work is where the balance of tension is represented. “ My hands discover the beauty in my own time and space”.
Amale Freiha Khlat is a Lebanese/British artist based in London whose work encompasses sculpture, painting, video, sound and print. She has translated and communicated her memory of armed conflict through various forms and objects, with a specific focus on the everyday banality of the spectacle of war that surrounds us on our screens. Her art encompasses multiple aspects with the imperative to always use destruction and creation which work from the void.
Her installations play with the senses and perceptions of viewers, reminding them that looking is a relational act based on selection and exclusion.
In 2019, the British Museum acquired a series of her prints on the refugee crisis entitled “The Perilous Journey III" for their Middle Eastern Collection. In 2018 she was the recipient of the Gilbert Bayes Award from the Royal Society of Sculptors in London, and was awarded in the summer of 2019 a solo exhibition a Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer. Khlat also won the LVMH Young Artist Award in 1995 and exhibited her work at the Carrousel du Louvre, the Royal Society of Sculptors in London, Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair, the London Art Book Fair at the Whitechapel Gallery, the Saatchi Gallery, Galerie Rochane in Beirut and most recently at the Hangzhou Art Book Fair in China.
Khlat graduated with distinction with an MA in Print from the Royal College of Art, London and holds an MA with the highest honours in Graphic Design from Penninghen in Paris and a diploma in sculpture from the Heatherley School of Fine Art.