Leah Capaldi is an artist working at the boundaries of sculpture and performance, her work responds to themes of exploitation, power, object and desire.
Educated as a sculptor, Leah believes in the intimacy of performance. Her work draws on the role of audience, the object, and the dialogue of space and occupancy, recognising the potential in performance to work new relationships with gallery environments.
She lectures on the Fine Art: Sculpture programme at the University of Brighton.
Leah Capaldi is an artist working at the boundaries of sculpture and performance, her work responds to themes of exploitation, power, object and desire She continues to challenge existing beliefs and stereotypes within a gendered, political and cultural context, exploring theses notions in relation to social reference.
Leah Capaldi develops work at the boundaries of sculpture and performance, challenging each, and investigating the possibilities around ideas of space, participation and spectatorship, and the considerations as to what an object is.
Building on the practices of artists such as Tino Sehgal and Andrea Fraser, she aims to transform the traditional perceptions of sculpture as defined by structure, form and weight. To do this, Capaldi creates immersive experiences, encouraging reflexive audience participation and engagement, for example in works like 'Allure' (2008, 2011, 2014), in which she documents reactions to actors sprayed with excessive quantities of perfume and aftershave. Her work thus subverts the passive role of the viewer and challenges them to reassess it.
Capaldi's research returns regularly to questions of becoming object. She explores this in a widening variety of media including video, scent, photography, object making and performance.
"the latest point on a trajectory that has seen her move from performing, when she graduated from the Royal College of Art four years ago, to superintending the performances of others, to her current approach in which she looks to cast her viewers simultaneously as performers and voyeurs." Review of Chorus 2014, Vitrine, London, by Paul Carey-Kent Vitrine see frieze.com
Capaldi's research on performative-sculptural boundaries crosses with an examination of space, reflecting on the mutating roles between artist and observer, object and subject, challenging the rules and engagements of sculptural, public and performance spaces (see Per4m interview.) Her work 'Prop' offered debris from past exhibitions as a backdrop to participants manipulating themselves into forms within a gallery space.
“It’s such a ‘safe’ space, the gallery space. Within a gallery, we can see the most horrendous images or we can be part of anything, and it’s diluted because of the confines of the art cathedral. If I can get people to experience the rupture or interruption of their viewing, I can shake them out of that. If they’re going around in a bit of a daydream, I wonder if there’s something I can do to prod them and draw them back, to realise that there’s something else happening that they weren’t aware of. There’s also a very accepted way of viewing work; why should there be?” Leah Capaldi interview with Ellen Mara de Wachter.
When making new work Capaldi visits the exhibition space to understand how people operate within the architecture and begins to generate ideas. Taking her thoughts into the studio she explores them further with photography, performance and film. Capaldi is always keen to push her practice out of the studio and often develops drawings and ideas on the top deck of buses travelling around London before returning to her studio to focus. Much of Capaldi's practice involves working with project managers, curators and participants to create work which lives on beyond the experience and uses the audience as archive.
Playing with surveillance and spectatorship her work can then challenge, in the participants, questions surrounding roles and authenticity, developing themes of exploitation, power, object and desire.
Studying Sculpture for both her MA (Royal College of Art) and BA (University of Brighton) she has shown at the ICA, The Serpentine, Zabludowicz Collection, DRAF and Site Gallery. Capaldi continues to exhibit internationally and has recently had exhibitions in Berlin, Holland and South Korea.
Leah Capaldi lectures in fine art sculpture at the University of Brighton and works in consultancy roles with other institutions, including visiting lecturer roles at Royal College of Art, Leeds Metropolitan University and the University of the Creative Arts.
Capaldi, Leah (2012) Outing and 2 x 3 [Exhibition]
Capaldi, Leah (2012) Prop [Exhibition]
Leah Capaldi (b. 1985, Chertsey, UK) lives and works in London. She holds an MA in Sculpture, Royal College of Art (2010).
Forthcoming solo exhibitions include MATTS Gallery (2016). Recent exhibitions and performances include: Hung, Serpentine Gallery, London (2014); 35th Birthday Party, MATTS Gallery, London (2014); Parts and Labour, Osan Museum of Contemporary Art, South Korea (2014); Hum, Art 14, London (2014); Witness Matter, Vitrine, London (2014); Invites, 176/ Zabludowicz Collection, London (2012); Incubate Festival, Tilburg, Holland (2012), Parts and Labour, Camberwell Space, London (2012) Prop, Vitrine, London (2012). Give Me Strength in My Heart, Copenhagen Place, London (2012); David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2011); New Contemporaries, ICA, Site and S1 (2011); EXPOSURE 2010, Parasol Unit, London (2010) and Young Gods, Charlie Smith, London (2010).
Leah Capaldi was winner of the Parasol Unit EXPOSURE 2010, a finalist in The Catlin Art Prize 2011 and was awarded The Arts Foundation Sculpture Fellowship 2014. She was awarded the Gerston/Zevi Land Art travelling residency in 2014 and was also awarded the ACME Firestation Live/Work residency 2015-20.