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Social Work

Sonia Boyce

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Sonia Boyce, The Audition, 1994. Courtesy: the artist and Apalazzogallery, Brescia

Sonia Boyce, The Audition, 1997. Courtesy: the artist and Apalazzogallery, Brescia

APALAZZOGALLERY presents a major work by Sonia Boyce for Social Work.

The Audition (1997) is 400 black & white photographs mounted on aluminium. The making of The Audition took place at Cornerhouse (now HOME) in 1997 as part of a residency by Boyce at The University of Manchester. An open call invited participants to go to Cornerhouse to try on an afro wig. Each individual was photographed with and without the wig and a collection of photographs was made. For the participants, the act of putting on the wig was a kind of performance, with the introduction of an element of supposed ‘otherness’ opening a space for discussion and exploration of identity as unfixed and collectively constructed.

Since the 1990s, Sonia Boyce’s practice has taken a multi-media and performative turn by bringing people together to express themselves in improvised ways. Central to her practice are questions about the production and reception of unexpected gestures, with an underlying emphasis on the intersection of personal and political subjectivities.

Sonia Boyce (MBE, RA) came to prominence in the early 1980s as part of the Black-British art scene. She has exhibited widely, most recently: Sonia Boyce, Manchester Art Gallery (2018); We move in her way, ICA London (2017); and, All the World’s Futures, 56th Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art (2015). Sonia Boyce: Thoughtful Disobedience, (ed. Sophie Orlando, publisher les presses du réel, 2017) and Sonia Boyce: Trailblazer (Bloomberg TV, Brilliant Ideas/60, 2017) are currently available.