I am currently Artist-in-Residence at the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation. During my stay in Dessau, unusual hybrids will be created on the occasion of the Foundation’s annual theme of “Infrastructure”, involving visitors and citizens of Dessau-Roßlau. The results and work processes will be presented as an exhibition at Gropius House from the 25th of November until 26th June 2022, information about the exhibition can be found here.
Interview with Bauhaus Foundation about the residency can be found here.
“For the artist with British-Canadian roots space is a stage, for which she develops objects from
ceramics, textiles, water, wood and metal that move at the intersection of sculpture, display and
instrument. The musical performance lives from the communication between the artists, who play
the same instrument together. Evans combines ancient and ritualistic music traditions with random and spontaneous musical choices, matching the instruments to the characteristics of the site and the interests of the artists.” Bauhaus Dessau Foundation.
“There’s always a central connecting thing, whether that’s an object or the jelly-like surface you have in these drawings – there’s something that can be gathered around and then transformed by the presence of other people. I really love how in these (drawings), while you don’t have a physical breath, or physical bodies present because it’s a work on paper, that sense of gathering remains, even if it’s in the realm of a potential gathering, a potential togetherness. I find that really moving and really hopeful. I think we’re all trying to envision other possible ways of existence that we didn’t have to before and it’s almost like this is a strategy for that, which I really appreciate being able to see… “. From a conversation in 2020 with Amy Lay-Pettifer. Full interview is at the Aleph Contemporary website.
I make and perform sculptures that are also playable electro-acoustic instruments and tools. I play them with multiple participants and a wider group of collaborators through evolving cycles of making, improvisation and responsive adaptation – each sculpture is intended for shared use and plays out in a politics of negotiation that is channelled through their physical materiality. I have been exploring multiplicity, collectivity and communality through feedback methods of composing and improvising that I develop in my sculptural films, performances and public workshops. The resulting Instrument-Sculptures’ soundscapes are characterised by group dynamics as material and create moments of focus, humour, ferocity, generosity and struggle.
The sculptures bring together a wide range of reference points from ancient musical instruments, the ritualistic and hypnotic material processes of artisan labour, to aquatic life forms. Each sculpture continues to evolve as part of a highly sensitive ecology of forms. These respond to the people and location they are created for – whether imaginary, site-specific or a combination of both.
My past works were deeply rooted in the space of the studio, which acted as a laboratory for alchemical transformations of different ideas and materials. It now involves moments when the sculptures are taken out into the world and played by others. Chance and intuition remain intrinsic, where sometimes things happen and at other times they just crumble and collapse – my models, films, scores, drawings, soundscapes and diagrams document this continual process.
Do you consider the objects/instruments as temporary in the mediations of collaboration and togetherness? Or are they able to transcend into further sonic embodied experiences beyond the immediate interactions? A question from a workshop I devised for the Royal College of Art MA Contemporary Curating course.
“What first struck me about Rita’s work was its fearlessness about using wide-ranging technologies, combining the sophisticated with improvisatory and spontaneous practice. Her drawings showed a real similarity to the freedom, quirkiness, humour and enquiry intrinsic to Stephen Cripps’ sketches.” Anne Bean, Artist, Stephen Cripps’ Studio Award panel, 2015
“Rita stood out as an artist who was very motivated and spoke and illustrated a number of projects that were often ‘off the beaten track’. She already seemed to be wholeheartedly committed, with a number of engaging ideas, for projects that were well-orchestrated in her mind for Thurrock, the local environment and those who live and work there.” Ron Haselden, Artist, Stephen Cripps’ Studio Award panel, 2015
A recent blog for Towner Eastbourne about my commission in October 2020 can be read here.
A blog about the beginnings of my instrument-sculpture workshop-performances in 2016/17 at Chisenhale Dance Space can be read here.