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Felicity SparrowClick here to Print this Page
Annabel Nicolson
From the mid-70s film became less an integral part of Nicolson's performances, "I think I became more and more interested in the performance space, the situation and the incidental thingsā€¦ it was almost as if I didn't need the film material, I could do things just with light, just with buildings."

This led to a series of epic-like performances, some of them outside, like Sweeping the Sea (1975), others in galleries and artists' or musicians' spaces, utilising ambient light, even on occasion a cauldron of fire suspended from the ceiling. "I think that the things I love about performance, or performing, are the things that make it difficult - it's that truth to the moment when you're trying to create something within a space and everything has to come together at that moment."

Nicolson's art is about the materials she uses, whether the physical materiality of canvas and the filmstrip or the immateriality of transient light and space in performance. Like a phantasmagorist she employs minimal means to conjure the marvellous, from the film-loops she manipulated so idiosyncratically in her earliest expanded-cinema pieces to the later performances using voice, recorded sounds and small precarious sources of light to create intimate scenarios which simultaneously make metaphorical reference to the 'seeing in the dark' magic of cinema and the ancient tradition of fireside storytelling.

Felicity Sparrow
Still from Sweeping the Sea by Annabel Nicolson, 1975
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