03.02.11 — 04.03.11 ‘Sophie Clements, 'Dimensions Variable'’

Sophie Clements’ work explores the use of video as a form of sculpture. She uses devices including sculptural installation and video projection to deconstruct and re-assemble time and materials to question the notion of physical reality in relation to time and memory. Taking inspiration from ideas in science and experimental music, Clements manipulates time to create highly constructed objects that grow from their surroundings, producing collages that rely on chance interactions and discourse between the concrete ‘real’ and the constructed ‘unreal’.

In Dimensions Variable, Clements presents a series of constructed ‘light objects’ that sit in juxtaposition with their surroundings of metal, wood and water. These compositions specifically explore the possibility that video can be used not as a linear sequence, but as a way to view an object in another time frame. Inspired partly by ideas in minimal and experimental music, which often involves the continuous and repetitive observation of a single evolving sound idea, Clements has stripped away all narrative and progression in these ‘light objects’. The video projection becomes a sculptural element or lens that permits the gradual observation of an object that couldn’t be seen with the naked eye.

The method and materials used in the filming process also become part of the artwork; the solid, physical object presented alongside its manipulated video counterpart. What we see in these ‘light objects’ is an altered memory of an event that happened – a moment in time seen in its entirety – or the fourth dimension of time, collapsed into the three spatial dimensions. The objects did exist in a particular environment for a particular moment in time, but it took the action of the camera looking in order to see them in our time frame. The very act of observing them has changed their state. As such, the work makes direct reference to ideas in theoretical physics concerning the ambiguity of our physical world, and the impossible notions suggested by studies of the behaviour of elementary particles. There is, on a very simple level, a seductive or irresistible quality to these light objects – they invite you to reach out and touch them, to try to understand them – yet they are elusive, just as the constituents of our physical world are when we look deep enough into them.

Another important and defining aspect of the work is its process. Much of it involves painstaking techniques that create ‘materially’ what could be done easily using digital manipulation or effects. Clements is interested in the space between perfectionism and failure – the encouragement of inaccuracies or unexpected results – the ‘happy accidents’ that occur due to human error, environmental factors or other unpredictable variables associated with her method of working.

It is for this reason that the physical process of making work is often as important as the final piece, and why the structural props and supports of the filming process are incorporated within the final objects. These objects are at once sound and light, real and unreal, kinetic and frozen, and the beauty that comes with them lies on the edge between these opposites.

Sophie Clements (b. 1978) lives and works in London. She comes from a background in biochemistry, music and design; the three elements that strongly influence and define her work. The majority of her work is made in relation to sound and music – the expression of the two languages of sound and visual as a singular voice being a key driving force. Sophie has worked in collaboration with a number of composers or sound artists, as well as various visual artists. Her recent collaborative work includes two large-scale installations for the Royal Opera House’s Paul Hamlyn hall, a video work commissioned by the Barbican for the world premiere of Thomas Ades’ arrangement of Conlon Nancarrow’s Study Number 7, various collaborations with electronic artist Scanner, and ongoing work and international performances with composer J.Peter Schwalm.

Her work has been exhibited in galleries internationally, including Plaza Futura, Eindhoven, Holland (2010), FACT, Liverpool (2008), The Jerwood Space, London (2008), MU Gallery, Eindhoven (2008), OpenEye Gallery, Liverpool (2008), Video London, Barcelona Spain (2006) Media Centrale, Groningen (2005), as well as in numerous film festivals. Clements won the inaugural Jerwood Moving Image award in 2008 for her film Evensong, and the Adobe Design Achievement Award for Time Based Media in 2005.

Dimensions Variable runs from 3rd February to 5th March. The gallery is open between 12 – 6pm, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at other times by prior appointment.

There will be a private view on Wednesday 2nd February 6 – 9pm, and late opening until 9pm on Friday 25th February.

Dimensions Variable is the final show to take place at Man&Eve’s temporary project space at 8a Courtenay Street, London SE11 5PH.