Sue Tompkins's current show at Midway Contemporary Art, "Its chiming in Normaltown," is for the most part an exploration of words, symbols, and sounds. The Glasgow-based artist (and former lead singer of Life Without Buildings) investigates a series of banal phrases, using repetition and other devices to manipulate the words until they become sounds, images, and impulses.
At the show's opening reception on September 7, Tompkins gave a performance as well, consisting of her reading her poem in a spastic manner as she kept an odd cheeky grin. The words were constructed like a word association game, filled with assonance, alliteration, and repetition, interspersed with percussive sounds and a strange hopping tick that the artist would do when she took a pause. Honestly, it was rather excruciating. After a while the performance, despite its quirkiness and intensity, all existed on the same plane, never wavering or offering a break from the personal and yet obtuse poetry.
IF YOU GO:
Through October 20
Midway Contemporary Arts
527 Second Ave. SE, Minneapolis