It’s over a year since I luckily met Phoebe Boswell at her solo show with Tiwani Contemporary. For Every Real Word Spoken was my introduction to her brilliance and it was a beautifully interactive body of work that celebrated womanhood in all it’s naked glory. This is a theme that Boswell continues with in her latest exhibition at Autograph ABP. Titled The Space Between Things, Boswell tells her story to the audience via charcoal still drawings and moving images; she speaks of her genesis, her ‘coming of age’ and all that falls in between, creating a deeply immersive installation that causes the consumer to feel at ease but simultaneously a slight discomfort. A necessary discomfort.
Boswell’s history is the anchor of this beautifully curated exhibition (curated by Renée Mussai). Born in Nairobi to a mother from the Kikuyu ethnic group and a White British-Kenyan father and having spent her childhood in various locations, Boswell reflects on identity, the potential loss of sight in her right eye, endurance and healing. There is a literal baring of herself in the twenty metre long charcoal drawing that is sprawled along the white walls of the main gallery space; we see Boswell in different emotive stages of being from tranquility to anger and frustration.
Boswell makes use of the entire Autograph space, leaving no space unmarked with details that could be easily missed if you haven’t been made aware of them. And that is an intentional practice done by Boswell; the details matter but they are not there to be noticed. Part of the details include shrunk down photographs of her and her family as you walk along the stairs to the second space where you are greeted with a visual image of what goes on inside her right eye.
Boswell is as open with her physical health to the audience as she is with other parts of her self; she gives us a snippet off who she is and the parts of her that make her the force that she is. Boswell shares vulnerability, humour and the importance of stillness.
There is much to be said about this beautifully piercing exhibition but why tell you when you can go see it for yourself? The Space Between Things by Phoebe Boswell is currently on show till the 30th of March 2019 at Autograph ABP. I will also be visiting the exhibition again with a group of black women for my 2nd (unofficially, 3rd) Black Girl MeetUp happening on the 10th of January.