Roy Efrat · Catrin Webster
PV: 04/09/20, 5-9pm
OPEN: 05/09/-27/09/20 by appointment only
Due to Covid-19: 4 visitors allowed in at any one time, observing social distancing; Face coverings must be worn, barring exemptions

As Victor Hugo once said, the sky is open ‘it has no walls’. It is space where all the colours of the spectrum are performed from dawn to dusk, to the bible-black of Dylan Thomas’ night. It can be an uncountable range of blue hues or a thousand greys, reds yellows, even green and all passing, all in flux. Rendered by Brunelleschi as reflective silver in his 1420 painting of the Baptistery Florence, in a test of linear perspective, the sky was unrepresentable, anamorphic, in flux. In this installation painting and projected light combine to develop new potentials for change, for narrative, for passing of ideas, time and birds.

Unlike the sky, there are walls in this painting installation; walls of the gallery which frames and contains the piece and walls which frame these jigsaw fragments of sky caught here as the open spaces between enclosing buildings: The Home Office Immigration Offices, London, Sheffield, Croydon.

The skies collected here are also the place of birds who connect Egypt, for example to the UK, from Africa to Aberdovey; or from Canada to Camden - the sky is a vast space enacted through migratory flight. Thousands of birds on the British Isles, return annually on summer or winter migratory patterns, never fixed to one place but living in transit across huge expanses of space, in a perpetual state of passing. Such mobility is essential to life.

Not surprisingly, the way birds appear and disappear has led them to be considered across time as symbolic or a portend of future events. The Raven, in Edgar Alan Poe’s poem of the same name, is a passing uninvited guest, who to the listening man, confronted by a creature from the outside, from another world, brings him unearthly news, spoken in the Raven’s apparent repeated words ‘Never more’. Poe links the bird to death, to grief, an Oman, a prophet, the listening man interprets the bird as giving voice to his own feelings, the bird is language, mysticism, Poetry, visiting from another realm. The bird’s repeated call marks time, time passing, life passing and times played at different speeds, from ancient patterns to the very instant of the now, to the essence of the encounter.

The appearance of birds, the spectacle of plumage, their miraculous flight, the symbolism which global cultures associated to them, make watching birds a mesmeric occupation. A bird can be an encounter with a passing unexpected phenomena and it’s potential irreversible impact is encapsulated in the Pigeon, 1987 novella by Patrick Süskind, where the presence of a bird in the hallway is such a devastating disruption from the ‘normal’ that it completely derails the exacting rhythm of life.

The Raven represents perhaps the passing of life and we too are passing; wanders through the city. Performing our identities, our gender our sexuality our fleeting lives.


In this video painting installation, choreography and narrative combine through projection and oil painting, developing a dialogue between movement and stasis, where ideas are glimpsed as they pass, like clouds in the jigsaw fragments of sky, caught here as the open spaces between enclosing buildings; The Home Office Immigration Offices, London, Sheffield, Croydon. People, birds, stories, music, time, pass.