Speed’s interests lie in the relationship between people and buildings and her work explores the body and its relationship to architecture. The idea of shelter and the inhabitant is at the core of much of her work; how a person is shaped by the buildings they have occupied and how a person occupies their own psychological space.
The word inhabitant contains the root habit (dress) and implies a habitat (dwelling) and Speed's work often has this double function of being both shelter and clothing. The shelters act as an expression of the layers that we surround ourselves with; skin, clothing and walls.
In BODY/BUILDING, ‘Groviglio (Tangle)’ is a two-channel film that considers the city (in this case, Rome) as a kind of palimpsest and the layers of activity from millions of inhabitants that have been erased, rewritten, replaced and overbuilt. A series of photographs and a short looped film comprise ’Sketches for Build-Up’, the results of many hours Speed has spent working with acrobalancers exploring the body as a kind of building material. 'Brick Parade' is a playful performance, where two brick walls will divide, contain and disrupt visitors to the exhibition. Following the opening, these costumes will be available for visitors to wear.
Emily Speed is a visual artist based in Liverpool, UK, who explores the relationship between the body and architecture through sculpture, performance and film. Speed was the Derek Hill Scholar in Drawing at the British School at Rome during 2014/2015 and other recent residencies include the Public Art Residency at Women’s Studio Workshop in New York and Standpoint Futures in London. In the Autumn of 2016 Speed will create a new performance commissioned by Fort Worth Contemporary Arts in Texas. Speed has exhibited at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Drawing Room, London and Laumeier Sculpture Park, St Louis and she has completed public art commissions for Edinburgh Art Festival and the National Trust among others.
Her work is held in numerous collections including the Arts Council Collection as well as the Library of Congress and Tate Artists’ Book Collections.