The Masque of Blackness
Solo Show at Gallery 46, Whitechapel, London E1 2AJ
6th September – 6th October 2018
Curated by Lee Sharrock – Supported by Londonewcastle
“Title Page” by Epoh Beech 150 x 120 cm charcoal on paper 2018 displayed outside Gallery 46, 46 Ashfield Street London E1 2AJ
The Masque of Blackness at Gallery 46, 6th September – 6th October 2018 Curated by Lee Sharrock – Supported by Londonewcastle
The Drawings from The Masque of Blackness 2011 – 2018
EPOH BEECH “THE MASQUE OF BLACKNESS” A Solo exhibition at Gallery 46 curated by Lee Sharrock September 6 – October 6, 2018
More than 7 years in the making and inspired by elements of Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness and Ben Jonson’s Jacobean masque (play) The Masque of Blackness, Epoh Beech’s animated film was screened at Gallery 46 in East London. Accompanying the film there was an extensive series of drawings and preparatory sketches of varying scale, detailing the journey of the painstakingly created animation.
Collaborators on the 12 minute animated film include; film animator and editor Matthew Thomas; musician Esben Tjalve who has composed a unique soundtrack; and Julia Gillespie, a former ballet dancer with Rambert Dance Company. The exhibition will also feature 3D paper maquettes made by Duncan Mude
Through the drawings and animation, Epoh Beech reimagines and weaves together the literary works of ‘The Masque of Blackness’ (1605) where the Niger River is protagonist, and Joseph Conrad’s journey up the Congo in ‘Heart of Darkness’ (1899). The exhibition examines the relationship between the Thames and West African rivers, in particular the Niger, Congo, Volta and Ankobra rivers. The artist has spent many days walking and drawing by the banks of these rivers, both physically and in her imagination (see Ghana Sketch book) . ‘Heart of Darkness’ is narrated at dusk, by an anonymous narrator, who is a crew member on board a boat (yawl) called ‘The Nellie’. This yawl is moored at Gravesend on the Thames at dusk. There is a link between the Thames and West African rivers and the imagination as a metaphor for unexplored territory, the unknown. Conrad’s use of frame narrative (story within a story) in ‘Heart of Darkness’ is also used in Epoh Beech’s animation.
Epoh Beech comments: “In both drawing and animation I am interested in where time is located. In a still image time is located in the viewer and in a moving image time is located in the actual image itself. Using the palimpsest technique in the drawing, (a process of drawing and rubbing out, leaving a trace of what has been before) inspired by William Kentridge and by Hiroshi Sugimoto. I’m exploring the transience of the still image, the impact of the moving image. I am interested in exploring the combination of moving and still images, projected light/stroboscopic light, natural light, mythical symbolism and music to see how, when these elements are combined together they can take the viewer to new, unchartered waters, in their own imaginations.”
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