Kim, Shelly and I went to see Fleur Elise Noble‘s 2 Dimensional Life of Her, at the Barbican. It was exciting to enter the theatrical space which was created with paper and projection, overlooked by a filmed full-size portrait of the artist herself. She is preoccupied with drawing and projection, but also puppets and animated figures, and it’s all mixed up in this projected papery space. Each new scene or character is introduced by the artist, in projection or real life, tearing paper, or brushing the image on or off with a large broom. It’s extremely tactile, and the most engaging moment was a projected fire, burning everything to a crisp. I couldn’t stop sniffing for smoke, and the urge to run for the fire exit was overwhelming.
There is a promo video on You Tube which shows the amazing mixture of techniques that she used in her performance. I think the piece could perhaps have been worked just as well in a gallery, because it was just 40 minutes long, and the largest part it was projected, not a live projection but recorded. I did have reservations about the tone of the work, because on the one hand and in the first half, it was a thoughtful and serious piece about drawing and the artist’s materials and environment, yet part of the way through, the characters began to engage with each other in a jokey way, and she ended the piece remonstrating with them about the fire, which was funny but a bit confusing and made it feel like a sketch, or a work in progress. Nonetheless, it was a great experience and I’d really like to see what she does next.