Nov 15th 2016

Caroline Bergvall is an international artist and performer based in London who works across various art forms, media, and languages in a multilingual space. Her practice pushes the boundaries of language and has an ongoing concern with the issues surrounding social displacement, migration, human dislocation, movement, people, language, and liminal spaces. Starting points and source materials for her work emerge from a mixture of historic, forgotten, or debased languages and contemporary cultural artifacts or political events. Bergvall often works with a mix of collaborators, and her artistic output takes many multisensory forms, such as poetry, audio pieces, drawings, installations, and live performances. Pivotal in developing a drive toward language-focused sound collaboration is the installation Say Parsley (2001) at Spacex Gallery, which was conceived with composer Ciaran Maher as an exploration of forms of exclusion through speech patterns.

Bergvall’s large-scale collaborative performance, DRIFT (2012–15), combined a rewriting of the Anglo-Saxon poem The Seafarer alongside reports from recent sea migrants and refugees. DRIFT was awarded a Judith E. Wilson Fellowship in Poetry and Drama at Cambridge University and was selected as the opening performance of Poetry International 2014 at the Southbank Centre.

Select international exhibitions and live performance venues include the Tate Modern, London; Serpentine Gallery, London; Khoj Art Centre, New Delhi; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art, Geneva; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Power Plant, Toronto, among others. Recent fellowships and residencies include the Mellon Collaborative Fellowship at the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, Chicago; Writer-in-Residence, Whitechapel Gallery, London; and the Judith E. Wilson Fellow in Poetry and Drama, Cambridge.

Image: Caroline Bergvall, DRIFT, 2012-2014. Live work for solo voice, percussion and digital text work.  Ingar Zach (sound composition), Thomas Köppel (Datawork), duration: 90 minutes. Photo: The Forge, London, Josh Redmon

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