Chisenhale Gallery presents the first major solo exhibition by Edward Thomasson and the premiere of his video, The Present Tense, commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery and Create London as part of the Chisenhale Gallery Create Residency (2012-14).

The Present Tense brings together three interconnecting stories, exploring the ways in which proximity and distance alter our understanding of one another. Set on and around a building site, a cycle of urban demolition and construction provides a backdrop for the physical and emotional regeneration of the central characters.

After falling in the street, a woman observes the slow healing process of her grazed skin as she negotiates personal and professional transformations affecting her life. In a consulting room, a therapist uses Sandplay Therapy to mobilise communication with a young client. Elsewhere, police officers put on a performance for a group of teenagers, singing about their daily interactions with people on the street. These three scenarios come together to describe our public personas as narratives that are continuously rewritten by one another and ourselves.

The Present Tense develops Thomasson’s specific approach to storytelling, which draws from the genre of musical theatre and its affective engagement with the audience, to navigate the space between interior experience and exterior presentations of the self within social contexts. This new work is conceived by Thomasson as an act of collective storytelling, exploring how performed narratives operate in non-theatrical environments, andfeatures a group of trained and untrained performers, many of whom have worked with the artist throughout his eighteen-month residency.

The video is structured around an extended musical number written with composer Soosan Lolovar, who also collaborated with Thomasson on Between You And Me, a play presented by Chisenhale Gallery and Create London at The Glass House Community Centre in July 2013.

Edward Thomasson (born 1985, Stoke-on-Trent) lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions include Left Behind Together, Outpost, Norwich (2013), in collaboration with Lucy Beech; Coded Conduct, Pilar Corrias, London (2013); Just About Managing, Southard Reid, London (2012) and Inside, South London Gallery, part of the Nina Stewart Artist Residency (2011-12). He was a participant of the Lux Associate Artists Programme (2012-13).

All images Edward Thomasson, Between You and Me, July 2013. Photo: Manuela Barcezewski