Chloe Dewe Mathews presents ‘Congregation’, a video installation exploring collective religious experience and specifically, the nature of expressive worship in south London’s African churches commissioned by the community department, Tate Modern. The film installation will be hosted by Bosse & Baum and builds on previous photography work initiated by Tate called Sunday Service which was developed in 2013.
With projected footage gathered over the last year, ‘Congregation’ offers an opportunity to reflect on the nature of contemporary worship, within one of the fastest growing religious communities in London. The piece, featuring a number of different churches in Peckham and Camberwell, is shown on multiple screens, combining intimate footage of personal reflection, with large-scale shots of communal ecstasy. The installation will be shown at Bosse & Baum, a new gallery based in a former industrial building on the site of a former church, within the Copeland Park Industrial Estate in Peckham.
‘Congregation’ is a development of Dewe Mathews’ recent work Sunday Service - a photographic piece commissioned by Tate Modern and shown at the McAulay Gallery in May 2014. As with much of her work, Chloe Dewe Mathews creates a piece that has formal coherence and aesthetic allure, while being simultaneously rooted in documentary practice. However, inspired by the dynamic and layered spiritual experience she observed, the artist decided to use moving imagery rather than still photography to respond to her subjects, in a departure from her usual practice.
Chloe Dewe Mathews said: “I became increasingly interested in the range of spiritual experiences that people were going through on any given Sunday. It’s the fascinating question of how personal experience becomes something else when in a group - a collective experience. How we all influence each other, affect each other and feed off each other. I’m intrigued by congregations as a whole, sometimes performative, other times contemplative but each week a slightly different collective character emerges and it’s more than the sum of its parts. ”