Deborah-Joyce Holman

Deborah-Joyce Holman
Photo : Deborah Joyce Holman, Untitled (in rage), 2021-2023 - La Grenette de la Ferme-Asile © Biennale Son, photo FI'NI Stud | Photo 2 : Deborah Joyce Holman, Untitled (in rage), 2021-2023, outside view © Biennale Son

Untitled (in rage), 2021-2023

8.2 surround sound installation, 20' 24''‍

In collaboration with Yara Dulac Ghisler and with contributions from B Covington Sam-Sumana, FALSE PRPHT and Suutoo, new sound spatialization designed with Merlin Modulaw.

With Untitled (in rage), Deborah-Joyce Holman adapts to La Grenette a piece that has already been presented twice, in an apartment at the Athens Biennale in 2021 and in the former factory hall of the Centre d'art contemporain in Geneva in 2022, where it was exhibited as part of the Swiss Emerging Artist Prize won by the artist. Conceived with Yara Dulac Gisler and featuring a new sound spatialization with Merlin Modulaw, Untitled (In Rage) is a powerful continuation of the artist's recent work.

Regardless of medium, Deborah-Joyce Holman's works are embodied gestures of refusal, turning elusiveness and fugitivity into survival strategies. Refusing to make the self over-available, they embrace a form of opacity, the better to lend an ear and make oneself heard. Just as some of their other works refuse to offer legibility, in Untitled (in rage), sonic elements (musical fragments, field recordings - rain in Ghana, a taxi ride in Washington, vibrations in a bathtub, and most crucially perhaps voices) are all denied a body.

In the intimacy of a narrow space dimmed by orange filters, the audience is confronted with a row of eight speakers while subwoofers groan underneath them. The soundscape of Untitled (in rage) carries tension and anger, with its various contributions standing out more clearly as individual voices, making this version of the work something akin to a chaotic choir. While it refuses to anchor itself to any one narrative, the emotional heft of Untitled (in rage) has transformative potential. 

I am trying to find the point where I can make work that is opaque, but still reaches those it needs to reach," says Deborah-Joyce Holman. "It's about what we do, and what we don't do. About how we listen, and how we don't listen. What have we learned to reject as silence?

Deborah-Joyce Holman

Born in 1991 in Basel
Lives and works between Basel and London

Deborah-Joyce Holman completed their Bachelor's degree in Visual Arts at HEAD-Genève before completing the CAMPUS Independent Study Programme at Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham.

They explore a variety of media, from text and film-making to painting and installation, and are particularly interested in the relationship of images, capital, and ideology as this pertains to the politics of representation of people who are subjugated as "Other" in an imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy (to quote the late public intellectual bell hooks). They often engage this through close exploration of archival and contemporary visual cultures in popular media, arts, culture and in the political arena, with particular focus on strategies, sites and articulations of refusal.

Deborah-Joyce Holman has won the Swiss Emerging Artist Prize 2022, the 3rd edition of a contemporary art award for young artists on the Swiss scene. After a series of solo presentations in 2022 (Luma Westbau's schwarzescafé in Zurich, Institut suisse in Palermo, Cordova in Barcelona) and earlier this year at Galerie Gregor Staiger in Zurich, it's the turn of Kunsthalle Bern to welcome her for the last quarter of 2023.

Deborah-Joyce Holman co-directed (2020-2022) the London-based arts organization Auto Italia. Already during her studies they were involved in curatorial projects. In Basel, back in 2015, they founded 1.1, a platform for early-career individuals in the arts, music and textual practices, with an exhibition space from 2015 to 2020. They also curated the 2018 and 2019 annual group exhibitions of Les Urbaines, in Lausanne.

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