Edward Thomasson

The Present Tense
3 July - 24 August 2014

Preview: Wednesday 2 July, 6.30-8.30pm

Chisenhale Gallery presents the first major solo exhibition by Edward Thomasson and the premiere of his video, The Present Tense, commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery and Create as part of the Chisenhale Gallery Create Residency (2012-14).

The Present Tense
 brings together three interconnecting stories, exploring the ways in which proximity and distance alter our understanding of one another. Set on and around a building site, a cycle of urban demolition and construction provides a backdrop for the physical and emotional regeneration of the central characters.

After falling in the street, a woman observes the slow healing process of her grazed skin as she negotiates personal and professional transformations affecting her life. In a consulting room, a therapist uses Sandplay Therapy to mobilise communication with a young client. Elsewhere, police officers put on a performance for a group of teenagers, singing about their daily interactions with people on the street. These three scenarios come together to describe our public personas as narratives that are continuously rewritten by one another and ourselves.

The Present Tense develops Thomasson’s approach to storytelling, which draws from the genre of musical theatre and its affective engagement with the audience, to navigate the space between interior experience and exterior presentations of the self within social contexts. This new work is conceived by Thomasson as an act of collective storytelling, exploring how performed narratives operate in non-theatrical environments, and features a group of trained and untrained performers, many of whom have worked with the artist throughout his eighteen-month residency.

The video is structured around an extended musical number written with composer Soosan Lolovar, who also collaborated with Thomasson on Between You And Me, a play presented by Chisenhale Gallery and Create at The Glass House Community Centre in July 2013.

Edward Thomasson (born 1985, Stoke-on-Trent) lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions include Left Behind Together, Outpost, Norwich (2013), in collaboration with Lucy Beech; Coded Conduct, Pilar Corrias, London (2013); Just About Managing, Southard Reid, London (2012) and Inside, South London Gallery, part of the Nina Stewart Artist Residency (2011-12).

The Present Tense has been developed during Thomasson’s eighteen-month Chisenhale Gallery Create Residency 2012-14 for Chisenhale Gallery’s Offsite programme and is commissioned in partnership with Create, a creative agency delivering projects in east London involving artists and local communities. The partnership reflects the two organisations’ mutual interests in commissioning artists to engage with east London’s communities and its varied social and cultural contexts.

Edward Thomasson's exhibition is produced in partnership with Create.
Supported by the Edward Thomasson Supporters Circle.
With thanks to Southard Reid.
The Chisenhale Gallery Create Residency 2012-14 is supported by Legacy Trust UK and Arts Council England.

Chisenhale Exhibitions Partner: Fiorucci Art Trust

Click here to download the exhibition handout, which includes an interview with Edward Thomasson

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Talks & Events

Saturday 12 July, 3pm
A discussion chaired by writer and academic Andrea Phillips; with Edward Thomasson; Wendi Sheard, actor and Chair of Adhoc Players; Hadrian Garrard, Director, Create; and Laura Wilson, Offsite and Education Organiser, Chisenhale Gallery; looking at the process of commissioning The Present Tense and Thomasson’s 18 month residency.

Sunday 13 July, 2-5pm
A workshop led by The London Psychodrama Network exploring methods of self transformation in response to Edward Thomasson’s exhibition. 

Thursday 17 July, 9-10.30am
A special viewing of Edward Thomasson’s exhibition with cakes provided by the East End Women’s Institute.

Saturday 19 July, 3pm
A tour of the exhibition led by independent curator and writer Naomi Pearce.

Thursday 31 July, 7pm
Edward Thomasson in conversation with Jennifer Higgie, novelist, screenwriter, critic and co-editor of frieze.

All events are free to attend but booking is advised. To reserve a place please visit our Eventbrite page here