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Neil Bromwich & Zöe Walker - A Leap into the Dark

Neil Bromwich & Zöe Walker - A Leap into the Dark

A highly personal work by Walker and Bromwich that deploys practice-led methodologies to explore how art has agency to shape ideas, and release potential within peoples’ lives using speech, fairy-tales and nursery rhymes.

An old woman dressed as an owl

A Leap into the Dark (2020) is both (a) standalone film-work online, and (b) a multi-media installation by artist duo Walker and Bromwich, exhibited presented by Queens Park Railway Club, an independent artist run gallery space in Glasgow (7 March – 20 Sept 2020).

A Leap into the Dark extends Walker & Bromwich’s interest in combining sculpture, performance and socially engaged art practice. A highly personal work that deploys practice-led methodologies developed over an extended practice within a new framing, the project explored how art has agency to shape ideas, be meaningful and release potential within peoples’ lives using speech, fairy-tales and nursery rhymes.

Focussing on, and working with Walker’s 88-year-old mother Libby Walker, who suffers from dementia, the research took a personal approach to participation. This required carefully navigating the ethical and personal challenges of balancing the benefits and risks of working with a loved and vulnerable parent within socially engaged participatory practice, filmmaking and portraiture.

The work consisted of two elements: (a) video in which Libby Walker performs the seemingly simple act of remembering and reciting the childhood nursery rhyme ‘I know an old lady who swallowed a spider’ and (b) gallery installation, film-work and inflatable sculpture. The two elements act in opposition to one another, creating a potent and emotionally charged, liminal space.

Alongside its central themes of memory and ageing, expressed both through the remembering of the verse and as the camera traverses the arc of life suggested by the objects within the physical installation.

A Leap Into the Dark, exhibition at Queens Park Railway Club in March 2020

Due to Covid-19 pandemic, the work was launched twice: physically on the 7 March for one night only, then 22 August to 20 September, Secondly the digital video launched online from 1 May. It was notable that the timing, intimacy and reach of the online release prompted a strong audience response. At a time when humanity was forced to slow down and reflect on planetary and personal mortality; the research seemed to resonate with audiences’ thoughts on the strange and magical fragility of life.

 

Download project PDF: Neil Bromwich & Zöe Walker - A Leap into the Dark (1.1MB)

A leap into the dark exhibition at Queens Park Railway Club in March 2020.