Banner image: still from 'Welter' (2021) by Victoria Gray, image courtesy of artist. Image description: A person with dark long hair is leant forward to reveal their spine and shoulder blades. They wear a grey loose fitting top and the backdrop behind is dark. A light above highlights the person.

As part of Shape’s artist support and creative collaborations, we are premiering a new work from artist Victoria Gray.

'Inside this migrainous welter, I feel a dark delay. A hole opens in the back of my head, and all of the tacit connections that ground a body in space-time, that galvanise a sense of self, fall out of that hole. Gravity works on me diagonally. With every movement, shift of eyeline, and change in light, I multiply in the turbulence, zig-zagging backwards out of my body, like driving over a poorly surfaced road or the uncanny echo in the legs when stepping off an escalator.'

Victoria Gray’s ‘Welter’ (2021), made in collaboration with Sam Williams, is the conclusion of many months of artist development with Shape Arts and is premiered today across Shape channels, though the work itself - defying expected parameters of what an artwork ‘is’ - has been in production since 2017, supported by an Artsadmin Artists’ Bursary.

‘Welter’ (2021) deliberately exploits ambiguity; of language, form, and meaning. Welter - both verb and noun - is a slippery and tense concept, evoking imagery of a writhing, messy, distress. In contrast, the term ‘autism’ appears as a tidy linguistic and diagnostic tool. Beneath the surface, however, much like the language (both verbal and somatic) that Victoria has developed within her practice, this simplicity obscures the complex and diverse sensory encounters that autistic people experience. 

Through this deeply personal and evocative work, Victoria is looking to reflect on the ways in which autistic sensory experience can enrich - and conflict with - contemporary performance and visual arts practice, as well as, more abstractly, reflect on the power and limitations of traditional linguistic communication.

Check out Victoria's website    See all the artists we work with

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