A black and white still from a film by Phoebe Davies, entitled Spiral Rides, Points of Rupture. The image shows a tangle of bodies in a wrestling pose, arms heads and shoulders interlocked.
Somerset House Studios

Gallery 31: Temporary Compositions

12 Nov 2021 - 20 Mar 2022
Mon – Sun 10.00 – 18.00
New Wing

An exhibition considering the temporary synchronicity between people, bodies, sounds and signals.

'Sometimes people start to sing the same song, and to dance the same dance'

Franco Bifo Berardi

Gallery 31, the space dedicated to platforming work by Somerset House Studios’ resident artists and work developed through residency programmes returns for its fourth season.  Curated by Stella Sideli, the exhibition explores the interrelationship between people, sounds and signals and the rhythms and patterns that form within them, reflecting on different approaches to being and being together. What new meanings and modalities can be created within communal settings, through collective experiences and collaborative processes?

Featuring video, sound, sculptural and textile works by Abbas Zahedi, Phoebe Davies, Joe Namy and Sonya Dyer, each work in the show sees a coming together of individuals, organically or involuntarily, sparking and creating momentary connections, movements and cultures.

Abbas Zahedi has developed a new commission during his three-month residency at Somerset House Studios, building on his recent work sampling meditation apps. Here, work through sound, performative remnants, and site-specific intervention, ritualistic rhythms provide an undercurrent that re-enliven mediated transcendence. Instead of a pure sonic encounter, Zahedi’s Door WC2R tunes the space of Gallery 31, enabling an improvised tempo, or rather, a de-choreographed palpitation.

Phoebe Davies’ film The Sprawl explores the physicality of occupying communal and competitive spaces. Following a small wrestling club on the outskirts of Oslo, Norway, and their team of young female wrestlers, it documents day-to-day routines at the club, team interactions, and their training, sparring and recovery from injury. We are witnesses to the wrestlers being encouraged to struggle against each other, testing their mental and physical resilience, while moving between moments of tenderness, strength and aggression.

Artist, educator, and composer Joe Namy’s ongoing, international performance project Automobile manifests in the form of printed voile curtains, an installation piece reshaping the gallery space, alongside a sound work comprising of audio documentation of the project. A direct reference to sound system cultures and to the past Automobile iterations which included super-charged car sound systems to create an immersive, synchronised, surround sound environment, the work looks at the social constructs of music, passion and escapism.

Sonya Dyer’s videos - based on conversations with scientists - form part of the artist and writer’s ongoing project Hailing Frequencies Open, which intersects the Greek myth of Andromeda, the dubious legacy of HeLa cells and actor Nichelle Nicols’ pioneering work in diversifying the NASA astronaut pool in the 1970s as the starting point for an exploration of Black female subjectivities within narratives of the future.

Photography by Tim Bowditch.


A number of artworks in Temporary Compositions are available for purchase. For all enquiries, please contact Harry.Leek@somersethouse.org.uk 

 This exhibition has been made possible with the support of the Foyle Foundation.

Foyle Foundation logo. Two Fs are placed by side by side in a light blue box. Next to the box are the words Foyle Foundation.