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Emily Sparkes

Havill & Travis are proud to present a show by one of Birmingham’s most exciting young artists, Emily Sparkes. Emily’s work performs the still seductiveness of the tableau vivant (translated as living picture). Historically a past-time of the Age of Enlightenment, the tableau vivant is an artsy charades of sorts, leading to an entanglement of performance and painting. Utilising the practice starts from an understanding of the 18th century that ‘lives and breathes sensuality […] sensuality is the air upon which it feeds and which brings it to life’; with the learning of this sensuality coming mostly through images [Goncourt brothers: 1905]. Through her work she aims to explore how this relates to post-modern and queer models of thought, encouraging the consideration of the fluidity, complexity, ambiguity, and intensity of the body and of painting.

Emily is a PhD student at the Birmingham School of Art and graduate of the MA Queer Studies in Arts and Culture program, with artwork in public collection; her research building on political and philosophical concerns for the self and becoming. The paradoxical insistence on both motion and motionless within tableaux vivants is of great interest, and a notion of temporality that creates a sense of overlap and support founded on difference.