Much of her thinking seemed to embrace that which is not there or cannot be objectified, and so she was drawn to sound, to smoke, to light and dark, to silence. In a recorded conversation between Annabel, Steve Beresford and Paul Burwell (MUSICS, no. 8, July 1976), conducted at the old Piano Factory in Camden Town, north London, she spoke of finding a piano in the yard of the factory: “It was deteriorating and when it rained the keys started to float. It played by itself and the keys moved around quietly.” Magic is always present as a possibility, quiet magic in the background, and the possibility of the artist slipping away quietly, to become anonymous as the work becomes autonomous. Phenomena are left to take care of their own work of entrancement.
Image credit: Annabel Nicholson, Escaping Notice (1977), courtesy of LUX
About the artist
Annabel Nicholson (b. 1946) studied at Hornsey College of Art (1964-65), Edinburgh School of Art (1965-69) and St Martins School of Art (1970-71). From 1969-70 she ran the gallery at the New Arts Lab, London and was cinema programmer at the London Film Maker’s Co-op in 1974, 1976-77 and 1992/3. Nicolson was also a founder member of Circles – Women’s Film in Distribution. From the 1970s onwards she has been producing film works, often on 16mm, as well as expanded cinematic performances which play on the elemental make-up of cinematic space.
Image credit: Annabel Nicholson, Stock Exchange – Women’s Peace Action (1983), courtesy of LUX
Felicity Sparrow on Annabel Nicholson
“The room is full of noise: the steady whirring of the projectors, the clacking and clicking of the filmstrip as it passes over pulleys and through the projector, the hum of the sewing machine as the woman turns the handle, intent on her sewing…”
Felicity Sparrow investigates the (im)materiality of Annabel Nicholson’s work.
Image credit: Reel Time (1973), courtesy Camden Arts Centre
Image credit: Material from Concerning Ourselves (1981), an exhibition organised by Annabel Nicolson at Norwich School of Art, courtesy Flat Time House
Image credit: Annabel Nicolson & Lucy Reynolds Anthology (2013), courtesy Flat Time House