A Play on Rope was an audacious experimental solo show by Charley Evans, a first year student studying Fine Art at Liverpool John Moores University. The one-night-only pop-up show, situated at Zuhouse in central Liverpool, was an installation consisting of three television monitors showing experimental films, intertwined with bright orange rope and fragments of coal.
The space itself, being a fairly small unit, conjured themes of confinement and claustrophobia, which reflected the films within the piece itself. I watched objects close-up on the monitors, being obsessively and violently contorted by the artist’s hands. This related heavily to the performance piece Evans did halfway through the show, where she obsessively unpicked parts of the rope, surrounded by the installation itself. The culmination of the confined space, the films and the live performance, made the audience feel uncomfortable, which was strangely welcomed. Despite this, there was a great deal going on in the space, with each element carrying with it, background contexts and associating ideas. These include personal experiences, themes of obsession, and the associating idea where the work was in response to the 19th century painting Samson by Solomon J Solomon (see below).
Although each element of the work was carefully considered and justified, the amount going on in the space, physically and conceptually, was arguably not necessary. Upon reflecting on this show, it seems clear that the work would
benefit greatly from being stripped back, where specific elements could be emphasised and explored. Currently, it seems clear that strong components of the work are being overlooked as there was so many themes and ideas which almost overwhelmed the space. I am however very excited to see how this work develops, as Evans has already taken on this challenging space and showed how she can coherently use it to her advantage.
A Play on Rope, Zuhouse, 3rd April 2017.
Downwards, Cactus Gallery, 24 February – 19 April 2017.