Lydia Davies (she/her)
John Calcutt Prize for Critical Writing
Lydia Davies (b.1991, Dorset, UK) works across writing, voice, sound and moving image. Her practice draws on relational selfhood and the role of narrative in how we navigate and relay experience. Using autobiographical writing as a tool, her works probe the singularity of first-person narration by exploring how a sense of self is constructed through our relations to people, objects, minutiae, environments, and phenomenal experiences. Her works play with the ironic distances and temporal aberrations inherent in narrative, to agitate the idea of self-continuity. Her current research explores these ideas through topics including souvenirs, grief and voice, and their transformative potential for the self.
Lydia graduated from BA (Hons) Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, London in 2013, and was selected as an associate artist for the inaugural Associate Studio Programme in London from 2013-2016. In 2018, she completed a PgCert in Academic Practice in Art, Design and Communication at UAL in London, and holds a fellowship of the HEA. Her audio work has recently been broadcast with Radiophrenia, Glasgow, and Market Gallery in Glasgow. She has upcoming exhibitions in Summer 2021 with Youkobo Art Space in Tokyo, and Castlefield Gallery in Manchester.
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New sheets (AV)
In these companion works of the same title, the short story New sheets is presented in two different formats: as an audio-visual work, and as a small handmade concertina publication, available in a limited edition of 30.
The narrator’s optimistic mood after changing the bedding is trailed by a series of resolute thuds; setting down a vase, a wheelie bin lid closing, and debris falling from a gaping hole in the ceiling. Their attempt to restore the orderliness of the room is negated as the room and mood deteriorates. Point-of-view is rattled through glimpses and glances, digressions and a heightened self-awareness. Recurring resolute thuds suspend any sense of finality and resolution.
New sheets (publication)
Handmade concertina book: 22 pages, 120x103mm.
Limited edition of 30.
Construction: Inkjet print and eight hand-printed lino cuts, 2mm board, 175gsm paper, 135gsm plain and granular embossed paper, 116gsm linen embossed paper.
a holding place
a holding place is the first edition of 20 handbound artist books made by Lydia Davies and Jess Holdengarde. In response to Holdengarde’s work Intangible Matter, this collaboration employs fiction and correspondence to create a re-telling of an intangible object; the story of a dead bird found in the ashes of a fireplace which has to be left behind, and the periphery that frames the scene. a holding place is a refuge for a story lived and lost over and over. Exploring loss and grief, the writing grasps at something that needs to be let go. As it is retold, the narrative morphs as some details slip away and new details come to the fore.
50 pages, 180x130mm. First edition of 20 copies.
Construction: Printed by Gelatinprint, Glasgow, and perfect bound by hand.
The Sudden Cheese
A temporary hoarding is erected in the narrator’s local area. Over the duration of the text, the narrator’s opinion of this surprise structure deviates in accordance with their own internal logic, their aesthetic tastes, and through their need for a more liveable kind of ambivalence to their changing circumstances.
Pamphlet, 3 pages, 183x283mm, (closed: 183x77mm).
Limited edition of 35.
Construction: laser print on 120gsm paper, 85x85mm hand printed lino cut, laser cut holes, hand embossed circles, hand-drawn perforation detail.