‘Between the Acts, 2018’ is an artist poster commissioned by Flying Leaps created in response to the Brexit negotiations. The iconic image of the white cliffs at Seven Sisters in Sussex, coupled with the haunting quotation from Virginia Woolf’s posthumously published work ‘Between the Acts’, conjures vertiginous feelings of both awe and trepidation.
“They looked at the view; they looked at what they knew, to see if what they knew might perhaps be different today. Most days it was the same.” Virginia Woolf (1941)
The photograph was created the week that Theresa May signed Article 50 triggering the two year period of negotiation that takes the UK out of the EU. Visitors to the Seven Sisters are warned not to approach the edge as it’s unstable. However, when faced with an abyss – whether natural or manmade – it’s difficult to resist staring into it. By displaying the poster in the public realm Roberts’ aim is to create unexpected, thought-provoking contributions to the urban spectacle, turning the street into a platform to challenge ideas and attitudes towards Brexit.
The poster was originally put up on billboards and fly-poster sites in Bristol, Glasgow, London and Manchester in February and March 2018. After a successful application to Arts Council England the poster was subsequently displayed on advertising hoardings and poster sites across Brighton during the 2018 Photo Fringe festival. Within days the posters were removed from several locations around the city after an intervention by Brighton & Hove City Council who felt the image of a local landmark, associated with suicide and accidental deaths, was inappropriate. Roberts responded by re-imagining the poster without the cliff and installed the new version around the city, thereby opening up a wider conversation about civic power and censorship.
Both versions of Between the Acts are available as limited edition blue-back posters here.
View a video showing the posters displayed on sites in Brighton here