Emily Speed: Body Builders

Phoenix Gallery

Thu 01 Jan 1970 - Thu 01 Jan 1970





Gallery open from 10am-5.30pm daily (excluding Sundays)

Emily Speed: Body Builders


Emily Speed

Body Builders

Exeter Phoenix is pleased to present Body Builders, a solo show of recent work by British artist Emily Speed.

Speed is interested in the relationship between people and buildings and her practice explores the body and its relationship to architecture, through sculpture, installation, drawing and performance. She is concerned with how a person is shaped by the buildings they have occupied and with how a person occupies their own psychological space.

The exhibition is the first UK showing of new works that include Body Builders (2016) a video work commissioned by Fort Worth Contemporary Arts in Texas, (USA), which focuses on the relationship between the body and ancient classical architectural forms.

Themes that circle power, gender, status and the symbolic meaning and language of architecture are reflected upon and explored through the abstract narrative of her film. Her costumed protagonists, performed by choreographed dancers, are suggestive of ancient Greek Caryatids (female figures carved in stone that served as architecturally supporting columns) who are liberated here from their traditional weight-bearing, static roles. 

Elsewhere in the exhibition, sculptures and wall drawings reference classical architectural forms, including structures that serve as hybrid architectural furniture and suggest a fluid, performative, even ritualistic space of interaction and exchange. Their shelves and niches function as a platform for the display of a series of small-scale clay models, which might suggest a soft remaking or reimagining of monumental stone buildings. 

Associated events

Artists Talk
Sat 11 Feb | 2pm | free 

Join the artist for a talk about her exhibition and wider practice. 

Film Screening
Sat 11 Feb | 3.30pm | £4

Following her artist’s talk, Emily Speed will introduce a screening of Peter Greenaway’s 1987 cult classic movie The Belly of an Architect, specially selected to accompany her exhibition.


Our main contemporary art space, exhibiting new work from regional, national and international artists.

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