SING SIGN: a close duet
15.07.21 – 11.09.21

Photography by Eva Herzog

We are pleased to announce the opening of Hanna Tuulikki’s SING SIGN: a close duet on Thursday 15.07.21. A performance by Hanna Tuulikki and Daniel Padden will take place at 19.00.

SING SIGN: a close duet is a vocal and gestural suite presented as a two-screen film installation with accompanying live performances. Originally commissioned by Edinburgh Art Festival for ‘The Improbable City’, the work was made in response to the intimate world of Edinburgh’s historic ‘closes’ (a Scottish term for small ancient alleyways) that lead off either side of the Royal Mile that runs through the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Sheltered in the confined space of a ‘close’, facing one another, a male and female performer (Tuulikki and long-time collaborator Daniel Padden) enact an enigmatic encounter: a wordless dialogue conducted entirely through gesture and song.

Photograph by Eva Herzog

Tuulikki’s composition is divided into four movements – Allemande, Courante, Sarabande and Gigue – named after the traditional Baroque dance suite, appropriate to a work rooted in gesture and movement. The architectural rubric of the city delineates its own visual-score: the composition and choreography are derived from a street-map dating from 1765. The choreography, inspired by British Sign Language, weaves together street-names and mimetic gestures. The melody is split between two voices, in accordance with the closes which branch-off from the arterial high street.

Despite the complete absence of words, at the heart of SING SIGN is an embodied reflection on language, and how the languages we have access to shape our experience of the world around us. As part of her exhibition at KELDER, Tuulikki and Padden will re-perform SING SIGN in the small back streets of Chapel Market, responding to this new context of the gallery’s locale in the busy central London borough of Islington. The physical gestures and melody that shapes the work will shift in meaning, entering into a new dialogue, forming new moments of encounter and interaction with the sonic landscape and architecture of the city.

A specially commissioned text by artist and cultural geographer Amy Cutler accompanies the exhibition and a limited-edition print based on the original score for SING SIGN will be available from the gallery.

SING SIGN: a close duet was shortlisted for British Composer Award 2016 (Sonic Arts Category) and was recently acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland to be a part of their permanent collection.

Exhibition text by Amy Cutler
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