16 August - 20 September 2003

Escapology presented three artists whose work investigates ideas of concealment or hiding as a means of escape, whether physical or mental. Escape is the passage from constraint to freedom, and has been highly popularised by the dramatic performances of escape artists whose death-defying feats capture the imaginations of huge audiences around the world. However, the featured artists explore a wider definition of escapology, including liberating oneself from an audience, and removing oneself entirely from one location to another.

Eve Dent’s work explores the boundaries between the physical body and the body of a site. She creates images in which parts or all of her body are fitted into the very fabric of a room, environment, or building. Often she is almost completely hidden in the recesses and constructional spaces within a building: the space under the floor or the flue of a chimney, with only part of the body visible; or squeezed into holes or gaps in the material structure, skin to brick, her physical contours against those of the architecture.

Through these acts of integration and hybridisation of the body with the built environment, she explores the relationship between visibility, presence and loss and the body as a channel to express the poetic life of a space.

Sofia Hulten’s Grey Area suggest a desperate bid to remove oneself from one’s surroundings. Played out in an office environment, this is surely a sentiment commonly felt by many office workers. These staged vignettes evoke textbook demonstrations of a technique. The attempts at concealing herself have varying successes but, like the ostrich whose head is buried in the sand, in the mind of the concealed if she can’t see us, we can’t see her.

Cheri-Lee Birch’s work deals with notions of stowaway and concealment, exploring feelings of isolation and invisibility within society. Elaborate situations are set up to enable the artist to conceal and transport herself away from one place to another, but the place she examines is the inside of the container or package involved. She recently had herself dispatched inside a purpose-built crate in order to record the view from the crate.