Results That Move You
July 28—August 14, 2015
James Fuentes is pleased to present a solo exhibition of video work by Lucy Beech, marking the US premiere of both works on view, along with the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York. The exhibition takes its name from Beech’s recent video work, Results that Move You, 2015 which debuted at Tate Britain in London earlier this year.
Screening on a monitor is Well Being, 2013 which takes the form of a workshop in ‘emotion entrepreneurship’, where emotions are circulated as the principle commodity. The work is focused on the ways in which women construct and sustain communities; exploring the relationship of the individual to the group through choreography and disrupted narrative, structure and form. Often performing the documentary as fiction, Beech attempts to map interactions between assemblages of objects and subjects, and the ways in which they work together to constitute certain interpretations of female gender.
Built out of an extended body of research around emotional labor, Well Being is linked to ideas around emotional capitalism, in which economic and emotional discourses mutually shape one another. The raw materials for these ‘re-enactments’ are fabricated from field notes - research collected through active engagement in networking events, and well-being workshops. These contexts demand group performance whilst blurring the boundaries between work and play.
The work interrogates real and fictionalized contexts that incorporate the neoliberal prerogative to ‘be who you are’ in mind, body and spirit. Evoking the incorporation of alternative or counter-cultural ways of being together into management styles and leadership models; certain economies that place a premium on interpersonal interaction, flexibility and adaptability to offer services that are uniquely human.
Projected in the gallery is Cannibals, 2013 which focuses on an all-female support group called ‘Women Empowering Women’ that proliferated in Britain in the late 90’s, and was later revealed as a conventional pyramid scheme. The support group engaged a skewed therapeutic model where ‘well-being’ was adopted as a brand and circulated as commodity. Embracing friendship as a business model, the group were encouraged to trade on their personal charisma and contacts to move the therapeutic product amongst a local network of friends, family and neighbors.
The group attempt to operate as agents for one another’s experience whilst in a more autonomous physical sense prepare their bodies - salting, smoking, breaking down the connective tissues, in preparation for a form of self-consumption. The therapeutic model of performing as an agent for someone else’s experience is potentially negated by its application within a system that relies on a model of unsustainable growth; the individual at the bottom will inevitably lose out should the group not recruit enough investors.
Lucy Beech (born 1985) lives and works in London. Recent and forthcoming presentations of her work include Frieze Live; Lisson Gallery, London; The Tetley Centre for Contemporary Art Leeds; and the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston (all 2015). Her work has been included in group exhibitions and screenings at the ICA, London; Chisenhale Gallery, London; GAK, Bremen, Germany; and V22, London (2013-14). Throughout 2015, Beech will be part of Selected V, a screening program presented by Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network and videoclub, which tours to the CCA, Glasgow; CIRCA, Newcastle; Whitechapel Gallery, London; and Nottingham Contemporary.
In addition to her solo practice, Beech has collaborated with Edward Thomasson on performance projects since 2007. Recent presentations have taken place at Tent, Rotterdam; Camden Arts Centre, London; Outpost, Norwich; 2nd Biennale de Belleville, Paris; South London Gallery, London; Barbican Theatre, London; and Modern Art Oxford.