Mute Rehearsal, a solo exhibition by Ilona Sagar,explored performance, sound, assemblage and photography in both the indoor and outdoor spaces of Vitrine Gallery in London’s Bermondsey Square from September 23 to November 14, 2015.
Squashed between glass and wall, over-sized pillows and black and white photographs occupied the thin ‘storefront’ space of the gallery. Experiencing the work from the outside, the assemblage becomes a type of advertisement for a public recreational space. Both the photographs and the pile up of pillows re-present a community gathering, freezing the fluid movement of bodies into a document of speech and exercise.
Extending out into a public square, Mute Rehearsal uses the mouth as the site of misunderstanding in exchange and dialogue; the transparent collision between internal and external layering of bodies creates a messy and visceral depiction of speech. Notably, the subjects of the photographs and the live performance are women. The gendering of the exhibition reflects Sagar’s ongoing interest in the relationship between narrative, surface and the female body. For this one in particular, the works reference fitness blogging and other online communities focused on identity creation. The flesh of the body becomes a malleable tool to stretch between the complexities of self confidence and disempowerment.**
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