The work of Elizabeth Price constructs a universe in which humans are known only by the objects they leave behind. She presents imaginary institutions or collections which house a mixed assortment of cultural artefacts, while the narratives she creates around these objects provide only incomplete or fragmented systems of knowledge. House of Mr X (2007) is a ‘guided tour’ through the home of an anonymous collector, with the interior preserved in situ from the 1960s. At times the spoken narrative assumes the promotional tone of advertising, while at others it comprises only unadorned, perfunctory description, with no intimation of meaning or interpretation.
The first episode in another series of works, Atrium (2008), established the parameters of a fictional museum, in which there was no human presence or even walls. Instead, pieces of material culture exist in a dark void, with only the narrator for company. The second video in the series, User Group Disco (2009), continues the artist’s interest in cultural debris. In this work an assembly of defunct and broken objects, including utensils and ornaments, are shown in sequence accompanied by a varied cast of voices. Combining institutional critique, obsolescence within consumer society and the complex relationship between commodity, culture and history, Price’s works create multi-layered virtual spaces which investigate the production of object based narratives.
Elizabeth Price is based in London, UK. The solo show HERE at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art continues until 27 May 2012. Her work was included in British Art Show 7 (various venues, 2010 – 2011) and she recently screened her new film, Choir (2011) at the Chisenhale Gallery, London. Her work User Group Disco (2009) is the charity lot at this year’s Contemporary Art Society Fundraiser LEAP!
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Image: Elizabeth Price, Choir (Part 1 & 2), 2011, HD Video, 9 minutes 5 seconds, courtesy the artist and MOT International.