This was the most comprehensive exhibition to date of work by British artist Ceal Floyer. It involved video, sound and light projection, works on paper and sculptural pieces based on ready-made objects, all characterised by a subtle minimalism. There is a very particular sense of humour embodied in Floyer’s work, derived from shifting points of view, double-takes and an idiosyncratic reordering of everyday phenomena. She communicates simultaneously the vital possibility of creativity in any situation and a constant hint of absurdity.
Ceal Floyer took to the stage of Birmingham’s Symphony Hall on the evening of 7 February 2001, prior to performances of Beethoven’s Overture: Leonore No. 2 and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, performed by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Her ‘nail biting performance’ took stage-fright as its subject, as the artist bit her fingernails into a microphone for five minutes. The sight of her alone amongst the musicians’ empty chairs, accompanied by the amplified sound of nervousness, was affecting and tense.