New Exhibition: The Foggy Dew at Swiss Cottage Gallery


The Foggy Dew
New works by Matthew Cowan feat. artifacts from the archives of the English Folk Dance and Song Society
Private View 25th February 6pm – 8pm

performance on PV evening by Matthew Cowan, Laurel Swift and Libby Chamberlain

Exhibition opens 26th February - 8th April 2010

Swiss Cottage Gallery
Swiss Cottage Library
88 Avenue Road, London NW3 3HA

Swiss Cottage Gallery is pleased to showcase artwork by Matthew Cowan, the 2009 English Folk Dance and Song Society Artist in Residence at Cecil Sharp House, alongside selected items from the archives of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Exhibited are costumes, disguises and artefacts representing a history of folk dance, ritual and performance, which have been collected in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries from around England. Some artefacts on display show
traces of the performances they have been through; this very visible residue alludes to the occasion and importance of live performance in the folk realm.

The spectrum of folk performance owes a debt to Cecil Sharp (1859-1924), England's most important folk song and dance collector, for his work in recording what he saw and heard. This exhibition picks up on the work by Cecil Sharp keeping a flickering light aglow; the nature of folk is that it needs to be performed to remain alive. This ‘current day’ inhabitance of ritual and folk performance is by no means unusual as successive generations of singers, dancers and
performers remain true to a set of traditional folk values whilst introducing a contemporary discourse.

Contemporary artworks are placed directly alongside objects from the archives in a deliberate linking and exploration of the discourse and re-investment into and between folk history and the current contemporaneous existence of the real and imagined folk realm. We would like to question the nature of traditions themselves and how we view and realise their re-enactment wondering when and if the re-enactment becomes an enactment. The costume works and the video performances are very much in the vein of ‘folk’ but also look toward wider issues of strangeness, joy, ritual disguise and the performance of the everyday.

Swiss Cottage Gallery would like to give special thanks to both Matthew Cowan and to the EFDSS for their support
and help with this exhibition.

For opening times please see Swiss Cottage Library website
For EFDSS details