Emma Talbot has a solo exhibition in Kunsthaus Pasquart in Biel, Switzerland: Ghost Calls and Meditations. On show until November 21, 2021.
For this exhibition, when our world is more uncertain than ever, Talbot interweaves the aftermath of the crash of our systems and interpretations of wild and impressive landscapes. These are stories of reconnection with ancient mythology and holistic ways of crafting, making and belonging to survive - all conveyed through a group of keening women.
The exhibition focuses primarily, however, on Talbot’s research into the ancient Celtic tradition of ‘keening’. Keeners were professional mourners, often women, who would visit homes of the recently deceased to perform lamentations and keening songs to help escort souls from this world into the next. These women appear throughout the exhibition in different forms: depicting the cataclysmic event that reconfigures the world; moving through this newly broken world; and exploring and being transported through fantastical landscapes by mythical birds, whilst ghostly apparitions float overhead. All of these narrative threads are drawn together and combined with movement and sound in Talbot’s new animation Keening Songs (2020). Here, we see these women move and mourn and care for one another, encountering different animals, ghosts and unknown spirits along the way.
With this new body of work, Talbot invites us to imagine these unknown futures together and think carefully about how we navigate our contemporary situation of undeniable uncertainty and change. Although she confronts these issues with honesty, Talbot’s work abstains from pessimism and cynicism in favour of hopeful futures, where systems of power have been reconfigured.