Working primarily in print, I use photography, digital print, screenprinting, video and sound to create installation based pieces.

I was one of six shortlisted students from the RCA put forward for the Red Mansion Award 2013 and was also chosen to be part of the exhibition Denkmaschinen (Thought Machines) at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna in November 2013 along with artists from Budapest, Bratislava, Leipzig and Vienna.

I take the relationship between the performer and the viewer (and the points where this relationship breaks down) and use this as a mechanism through which to examine various impulses ranging from desire to punishment. I am interested in the performer/audience dynamic as an unspoken contract entered into, within which there is permission to scrutinise the other and make judgements that we then use outside of the performance space in the ‘real world’. The spectacle, beyond entertainment, can also be something that functions as a lesson, a warning or a catharsis. The performer, whilst often literally taking on roles, must also take on and embody a certain assigned position within society that utilises the individual artist’s creativity or skill but at the same time results in a kind of entropy. Feeding from the idea of being ‘trapped within the field of vision’ my work becomes a site where performers must forever fulfil their ‘function’. In my images I try to depict the idea of work, struggle, labour and futility in a constant mirroring of creativity, the drive to show, obsession, madness and isolation. This investigation carries with it a strong feminist viewpoint, and an underlying commentary on the media/surveillance culture that surrounds us in the form of CCTV, webcams, and the constant presence of images. Since performance is viewed through the lens of the socio-political paradigm within which it is staged, such paradigms cast their own agenda through the repetition of certain tropes and the constant replaying and reproduction of dominant normative or proto-normative images.

Through the use of text in print and in the form of sound pieces, prominent voices are made visible/audible in my work – these voices echo everything from the tabloids to the critics of cultural output to literature and poetry and create a continual dialogue that is ever present and pervasive. Print, video and sound are both material and documentation forms for me, as I reference the archive and the tradition of print being bound closely with performance in the form of posters and publicity. I question whether documentation and the archive contribute to an unreality that we maintain in order to avoid disappointment.

Statement © Sharon Whyte May 2013
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