The walls are talking: wallpaper, art and culture

Boyce, Sonia, Demand, Thomas, Makhoul, Bashir, Meadows, Matthew, De St Phalle, Nikki, Shrigley, David, Wunderlich, Paul and Bertola, Catherine (2008) The walls are talking: wallpaper, art and culture. [Show/Exhibition]


Sonia Boyce was one of the artists featured in this exhibition. In 1994 Sonia Boyce designed her first wallpaper, Clapping, for Wish You Were Here, an installation of domestic-style spaces created by the artists’ group BANK. It was shown in an orange and white colourway. For the Walls are Talking exhibition, Clapping uses a black and white hand print, evoking a feeling of claustrophobia and predatory menace.

Another Boyce wallpaper, Lovers Rock was inspired by popular music and explores our physical interaction with the spaces we live in. The paper is white; the only decorations are the words at about hip-height that have been blind embossed, from Susan Cadogan’s hit ‘Hurt so Good’ (1975). At parties, when this song was played, couples would rub and sway up against the walls, responding to the intense sensual message of the music. The Lover’s Rock wallpaper would be rubbed and marked at hip height, evoking and to commemorates this tactile encounter between bodies and walls.

Music is also the subject of Boyce’s recent Devotional Wallpaper (2008), which was created as part of some reminiscence sessions where a group of women (with Boyce herself) pooled their memories of black British musicians and singers. Boyce has represented these reminiscences in various ways, including an etching for the
Rivington Place portfolio (2007), by inscribing the names on the walls of the National Portrait Gallery (2007), and now as silk-screened wallpaper, where 200 names are listed, each framed by radiating concentric lines. This roll-call of fame is also a memorial, a list of luminaries of the kind found in town halls, schools and sports clubs where the names of prizewinners are recorded in chronological sequence.

Venue Details

  1. The Walls are Talking: Wallpaper, Art and Culture
    • Location: Manchester, UK
    • Dates: 2008

Item Type: Show/Exhibition
Research Areas: A. > School of Art and Design > Visual Arts
A. > School of Art and Design > Visual Arts > CREATE/Feminisms cluster
A. > School of Art and Design > Visual Arts > Diasporas
Item ID: 10978
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Users 3197 not found.
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2013 14:49
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2017 12:19

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