Sleeping Lions, 2019

Sleeping Lions

HD video with sound, 5" 20"

Inhabiting the contradictory status of the ‘pop-promo’ – representing both artwork and advert – Sleeping Lions brings together two short scenes. In the first, a teenage girl reads a poetic text confronting ideas of capture, coercion, and game playing; in the second, she is seen rehearsing to fragments of Rihanna’s “We Found Love in a Hopeless Place”. Singing along to Rihanna’s mechanically produced voice, the teenager’s vocals mimetically reproduce both human and machine-like qualities.

The work stages contradictions of commodification. The performer is seen wearing a t-shirt associated with a 2012 court-case, in which Rihanna sued Topshop for ‘unlawful’ use of her image; she also wears a t-shirt featuring artwork by the See Red Woman’s Workshop from 1978. The on-going tension between the so-called freedom of infinite possibilities available in adolescence and the rule-based operations of adult life under capital are performed throughout the work.

Credits: Amy Lally (performer) Daniel Dressel (camera)

Presented as part of Labour’s Own Sounding Ideal, Pump House Gallery, London.

[23 January – 31 March 2019]