Sophie Percival

Transition Gallery Prize, Chelsea College of Art & Design


30 July – 14 August 2011   Fri-Sun 12-6pm

Preview Friday 29 July, 6-9pm



The Transition Gallery Prize is a contemporary art award set up in 2009. A solo exhibition at the gallery, with support and advice, is awarded to a Chelsea BA graduate for outstanding work and Transition is pleased to announce that this year’s recipient is Sophie Percival.

Percival begins with a preoccupation with an encountered environment, which can vary from a computer game, a drained swimming pool, awkward hairdressing salon or bizarre bathroom showroom, as she explores what it is that makes this place feel significant. Working in a variety of media, Percival explores the contradictions inherent in translating fantasy, virtual or imaginary spaces to reality. Her particular interest lies in how we socially interact as consumers and how our desires are affected by media and advertising.

After her first visit to America last year, Percival created three individual, but interwoven, pieces of work. The universal influence of American TV and advertising immerses us in its culture. Exploring these influences and relationships, Percival’s video, The O.C. Showroom, combines audio from the American TV series, The OC, with corresponding footage taken in British suburban kitchen and bathroom showrooms.

Pools from the Plane is an idea of a romanticised foreign place. The anticipatory view from an aeroplane window holds us as we imagine what it would be like in a new place. Swimming pools symbolise another way of life in a warmer climate and Percival, removing all buildings from a found image, creates a large, poster-like fantasy landscape that cannot be visited, inhabited or owned.

Finally, Beverly Hills Mansions is a series of 18 photographs of houses in California where the affluent residents choose their dream homes, resulting in many different recognisable styles juxtaposed. Hollywood is idealised all over the world, yet the homeowners in Beverly Hills build their American dream based on elsewhere.