Speak Easy...
2019

surgical plaster, bungee cords, metal hooks, resin pigment, glasswax, wax, vinyl prints, photocopies, speakers, vibration motor, wood, clay

in collaboration with vocalist Mohsen Masumi

“Everything we understand about reality is understood solely through the context of language.”
Multiple sources

“Speak Easy...” is a series of sculptures, sound pieces, publication and image-based works that investigate language as a power structure created during our year-long residency at The Florence Trust. Vibration, animation, imprinted surfaces, casted objects and suspended body parts are in conversation, exploring language both as a weapon of oppression and empowering tool. The casted objects of bodily and mechanical parts oscillate between bouncing, balancing, stretching and pulling, thus reflecting a system of instability, powerful invisible forces, fragility and tension. Abel Shah’s constellation of works embody suspension of belief and the murky slippage of truth: spaces where alternative new perspectives of knowledge and understanding of “the real” and accepted realities collide.

As part of the work, we collaborated with Opera singer Mohsen Masumi to create a ‘singing sculpture’. They performed operatic interpretations of the nonsensical Lorem Ipsum text in response to their own personal experience and in conversation with the sculpture. The sound piece explores the gap between the aesthetics of language and how storytelling can be communicated nonverbally, as well as disrupting hierarchies between high and low culture.

We envisage “Speak Easy” as an ongoing body of work, focussing on disrupting known ideas of material substance and value to explore, for example: dualities and oppositions, hierarchies within language, storytelling, histories and the written text. We are aslo interested in these conflicts as a reflection of our artistic practice as a duo through the lens of opposition, tension and balance. 

“And our tongues have become
dry the wilderness has
dried out our tongues and
we have forgotten speech.”
Irena Klepfis







Exhibited at The Florence Trust, London for the Summer Show, marking the end of the year-long residency 
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