Completed over several years, SLOW DANS was Price’s most ambitious work to date, a trilogy of new works conceived to coalesce in a single large-scale, projection-installation. Each work in the trilogy was between eight to ten minutes in length and up to seven metres wide or high. The first two works in the trilogy – KOHL and FELT TIP – were previously shown at the Walker Art Center and Nottingham Contemporary. The full trilogy premiered at the Whitworth, The University of Manchester in October 2019.
The three works in SLOW DANS – KOHL, FELT TIP and THE TEACHERS – respectively presented a fictional past, parallel present and imagined future.
Image: Installation shot from Elizabeth Price's KOHL (2018) at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2018. KOHL is part of the trilogy SLOW DANS a collaboration between Artangel, Film and Video Umbrella, Nottingham Contemporary, the Whitworth, The University of Manchester and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Photograph: Bobby Rogers. © Walker Art Center
Conceived as a ghost story, KOHL describes a vast and unseen underground liquid network that hosts mysterious apparitions called “visitants”, who hint at ways that the mining of coal has underpinned much of our present social reality.
Image: Still from Elizabeth Price's KOHL (2018). KOHL is part of the trilogy SLOW DANS a collaboration between Artangel, Film and Video Umbrella, Nottingham Contemporary, the Whitworth, The University of Manchester and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Photograph: © Elizabeth Price
Set in the future of a culture similar to our own, TEACHERS concerns a contagion of elective muteness that has spread through the professional classes. As a proxy for speech, those affected make and wear elaborate costumes that, in Price’s mesmeric edit across four channels, take on the appearance of a strange and sombre dance.
Image: Still from Elizabeth Price's TEACHERS (2019). TEACHERS is part of the trilogy SLOW DANS a collaboration between Artangel, Film and Video Umbrella, Nottingham Contemporary, the Whitworth, The University of Manchester and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Photograph: © Elizabeth Price
Elizabeth Price was born in Bradford and now lives and works in London.
In 2012, she was awarded the Turner Prize and her work has been exhibited at Tate Britain, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Baltic, Gateshead, and the New Museum, New York.
Image: Install shot of Elizabeth Price's FELT TIP at Nottingham Contemporary. Image: Courtesy Nottingham Contemporary. FELT TIP is part of the trilogy SLOW DANS a collaboration between Artangel, Film and Video Umbrella, Nottingham Contemporary, the Whitworth, The University of Manchester and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Photographer: Stuart Whipps
In FELT TIP, an equivalence is struck between the depths of the coal mine and the computer cache, a correspondence forged between seeming opposites: highly material solid rock and immaterial digital files. — Pavel Pyś
Interspersing sections of stills from Price’s work, Katrina Palmer’s text narrates her experience of viewing SLOW DANS, Pavel Pyś draws parallels between Price’s work and baroque trompe l’oeil painting, and Adrian Rifkin considers Price’s work in a world saturated with archives and images. Mary Griffiths’ glossary provides backgrounds to a wide range of source materials from mine-head architecture pitheads to men’s neckties from the 1970s to 1980s.
Elizabeth Price has been thinking about men’s neckties. The result is “Felt Tip,” a pointed survey of them as status symbols, digital design and more. – Anita Gates, The New York Times
Walker Art Center
Elizabeth Price has been thinking about men’s neckties. The result is “Felt Tip,” a pointed survey of them as status symbols, digital design and more. It’s one of two new floor-to-ceiling (20 feet) moving-image works making their debuts. The other, “Kohl,” looks at coal’s many uses, from fuel to cosmetic. Ms. Price, the London-based Turner Prize winner, uses scrolling text, computerized voices and music to make her statements about class and gender. – Anita Gates, The New York Times, 25 October 2018
Through the use of architectural makeup of the room, Price creates a sense of the hierarchical structures that are referenced in the film. – Sheila Regan, City Pages, 11 December 2018
One of the most common—and fatal—industrial diseases related to mining was black lung, which produced what was called “inky spit”. So there’s this idea of this involuntary symptomatic emission from the history of mining, from both the problems of its production, the violence of its precipitous termination and the collective failure to deal with the burden of debt that we have to the people who have taken this stuff up. And this emission is here manifesting itself in these cold and useless places that are barely inhabited. – Elizabeth Price interviewed by Louisa Buck, The Art Newspaper, 7 December 2018
For Price, it is in the digital realm that we can most clearly see the possibilities of the non-hierarchical sets of connections imagined in her films. ‘I’m interested in the sense of the digital, not as a radically new kind of experience of the world and images, but actually this quite dirty, confused, mixed-up realm, in which everything washes up, a promiscuous space of many, many different kinds of things.’ – Gabrielle Schwarz, Apollo Magazine, 21 February 2019
Price is skilled in constructing inviting surfaces: apparently simple stories, crisply edited percussive sound. Machine-cool the works may be, but not alienating. Once you’re in, they yield deeper oddness and affinities. – Hettie Judah, Frieze Magazine, 12 March 2019
Animating all her work, too, is a mischievous sense of humour, ensuring that her serious intent – cleverly and deftly meditating on diverse issues including feminism and class, the decline of heavy industry in Britain, and the manipulative lies foisted upon consumers by advertising – never makes the viewer glaze over or recoil. – Alistair Sooke, The Telegraph, 25 October 2019
Remembering is not always a private activity; it is the precarious ground on which relationships are built, society is maintained and hierarchies are enshrined. Price is well aware of this, creating a fictional past, parallel present and imagined future for her first video trilogy, SLOW DANS. – Hannah Clugston, Guardian, 28 October 2019
Who made this possible?
SLOW DANS is part of The Artangel Collection, an initiative to bring outstanding film and video works commissioned and produced by Artangel to galleries and museums across the UK. The Artangel Collection has been developed in partnership with Tate and is generously funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Foyle Foundation.
Artangel commissioning programme is generously supported using public funding by Arts Council England, and by the private patronage of The Artangel International Circle, Special Angels, Guardian Angels and The Company of Angels.