Ali MacGilp

Crossing Borders 2013 | Talk Description | 12 November 2013

Curator Ali MacGilp and artist William Hunt will discuss the relationship between the body, sculpture, choreography and performance art, taking Hunt’s practice as a point of departure.

William Hunt puts his body in extreme situations. He attempts to communicate with the audience through song, his voice under intense physical duress. Often uncomfortable to watch, his works can be absurd and humorous or deeply painful and tragic. Romantic and bathetic by turn, he takes on the forces of gravity, making the human body seem suddenly very frail. Borrowing from the visual vocabulary of Beckettian drama and slapstick, he is sentenced to continue his routine until the point of exhaustion, in a self-created hell. The audience is moved and chastened. A metaphor for the human condition has been played out. He pits his endurance against both the limitations of his lungs and physical barriers. The obstacles he constructs for his own trial by fire are sculptures configured from domestic and industrial objects. He tests himself and his collaborators using idiosyncratic arrangements from his private lexicon of materials: cars, boats, ladders, pulleys, buckets, bins, climbing rope, oil drums, paint, water, marine flares, and musical instruments. In his performances, Hunt creates striking scenes of the body in extremis with the familiar sound of the human voice, struggling to sing out, an age-old means of transmuting suffering.

The talk will be proceeded by a short performance by artist Adrian Lee. Please pay close attention for your safety and comfort.
It takes place in conjunction with Fort-Da at Siobhan Davies Studios.

With thanks to Arts Council England National Lottery, the Farook Foundation and Siobhan Davies Commissioning Fund.


Dr Ali MacGilp is an independent curator, writer and art historian. Working within a range of disciplines, she is particularly interested in film, video, performance and installation practices and working with archive materials. She has curated exhibitions at a variety of venues across London and abroad, including in Dubai, Hamburg, Amsterdam and Kabul. She is the co-founder and editor of the website and contributes to a variety of publications. She is one half of curatorial collective norn and teaches at Richmond University and the University of Reading. She has also curated Fort-Da at Siobhan Davies Studios this autumn.