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Olivia Leahy

MA work

Echo Chamber

Echo Chamber was a new commission by acclaimed theatre designer Chloe Lamford, currently Royal Court Theatre Associate Artist. The project was a unique collaboration with Lamford, reframing relationships between contemporary art and theatre. The audience was invited into a dystopic future world, a theatrical set where a programme of artists’ interventions, performances and screenings unfolded over the course of the exhibition. Artists include: Chloe Lamford (UK), The ARKA Group (UK), Bedwyr Williams (UK), Graeme Thomson & Silvia Maglioni (FR), Louise Hervé & Chloé Maillet (FR), Mark Aerial Waller (UK) and the editors of Living in the Future (UK).

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Humanities

    Programme

    MA Curating Contemporary Art, 2015

  • My interest in utopian / dystopian narratives in contemporary art is routed in how they are enacted in text, in gallery spaces and how institutions can be formed from them.

    I used my dissertation as an opportunity to research how a curator might use his or her own utopian vision as a social model in an art centre context. Two case studies – Grizedale Arts (Cumbria, UK) and unMonastery (Matera, Italy) – opened into a discussion about curating, moving beyond exhibition making into porous curatorial formats.

    In 2014, I co-curated a five-day artist retreat at Wysing Art Centre centred on the question ‘How do we want to live together?’ The retreat used collective thinking and workshop activities to examine models of living across different fields.  Furthermore, it offered a chance for a group of artists and curators to speculate on possible futures and to situate this discourse within artistic practice.

    Continuing to develop this interest in another capacity, I co-curated Echo Chamber in 2015. A fictional dystopian narrative written by the curators framed the exhibition. Six artists inhabited a set commissioned from Theatre Designer Chloe Lamford, playing with the narrative, responding to it or manipulating it. 

    Further investigations into this subject include a solo exhibition of new work from Iaspis 2013-4 residency award artist Love Enqvist (ACME Project Space, 2014) that centred on imaginary gardens.

    This inquiry into utopian narratives is a continued research interest of mine that I will be developing as part of my practice.

  • Degrees

  • BA (Hons) Fine Art, University of Leeds, 2009; Foundation Diploma in Art & Design, Wimbledon School of Art, 2005
  • Experience

  • Private sales administrator (clients: Impressionist & Modern Art, Christie's King Street) London, 2012–13; Auction administrator (clients: Private Collections, Christie's King Street) London, 2010–12; Graduate internship, (clients: Private Collections, Christie's King Street) London, 2010
  • Exhibitions

  • Poesy, Louise Emily Thomas & Nell Loder, Lewisham Art House, London, 2015; Echo Chamber, Royal College of Art, London, 2015; The World Turned Upside Down, ACME Project Space, London, 2015; Of Our Own Making, Wysing Art Centre, Cambridgeshire, 2014; Can You Pay My Bills?, Deptford X at The Albany, London, 2014; Can You Pay My Bills?, FlatTime House, London, 2014
  • Conferences

  • Validation and Use: The Archive and Domestic or Private Space, Royal College of Art, London, 2014
  • Publications

  • Sofia Akram, Olivia Leahy, Jane Scarth & Alexander Taber, 'Echo Chamber', The Notebook, 2015; Olivia Leahy & Lou-Atessa Marcellin, 'What is it to be functional?', The Ostrich - RCA Newsletter, 3, 2015