Background Shape

Jesse Darling: Miserere

12 – 16 October 2022

St James’s Piccadilly presents Miserere, a new commission of artwork in the sanctuary of the church by Jesse Darling 12 -16 October 2022. An accompanying programme of events and music involving Freya Lily, Trans Voices, Cherif Hashizume, Sarah Boulton, okcandice and others will take place across the week, together with regular church services.

Watch recordings of Jesse Darling events at St James’s on YouTube:

Jesse Darling opening performances 13 Oct
Jesse Darling in conversation with Lucy Winkett
Trans Voices – Soundbath Performance 14 Oct

Following a short-term residency based in the bell tower at St James’s Piccadilly, Miserere is a substantial new work in the form of a choir or congregation, assembled in the open sanctuary of the working church. A plethora of second hand radios – each tuned just off station – crown metal bases suggestive of human shapes, alluding at once to a sense of possibility, and of failure in communication and transcendence. Alongside this new work, the artist will show two existing artworks that also act in dialogue with the church setting.

The title Miserere is Latin for mercy, or to have mercy, but can also allude to a vomiting sickness or to the small ledge on the underside of a medieval church choir-stall seat, often termed misericord or mercy-seat. Darling’s interest in religion is seen in works exploring faith, hope, hubris, community and desire and their limits, through installation, drawing, text, and sculpture. The works often expose how systems of power including government, religion, ideology, technology and empire can be as fragile and precarious as mortal bodies.

Miserere is situated at the front of the church, and its presence spans the regular rhythm of church life and services, into which will be woven a new acoustic programme of music programmed by producer Didier Rochard and the team at St James’s, responding directly to Darling’s artworks: pianist and composer Freya Lily will perform a dreamy neoclassical piano set for quiet reflection and a one-off improvised experimental piece; a small choir of singers from Trans Voices, the UK’s only professional choir for trans people will perform semi-structured and experimental works with spoken word, drawing on the lived experience of trans and non-binary performers within the choir; and electronic artist Cherif Hashizumewill improvise a new piece using self-developed music performance software and hardware modular synthesizer system.