‘Teasing Out Contingencies’ – A Solo Exhibition by Quilla Constance at The Higgins Bedford – 17 June 2023–7 January 2024

Date 21 July 2023

The Higgins Bedford is delighted to present 'Teasing Out Contingencies' – an exhibition of eight new large-scale oil paintings and a costume-installation by St John's College alumna Quilla Constance (aka: QC)

QC’s paintings for this exhibition employ a range of artistic techniques such as realism, surrealism and abstraction, and situate members of the public within opulent interiors from Buckingham Palace. Scenes from the paintings also include objects and logos that challenge and clash with the surroundings, creating unusual, humorous, and empowering imagery as a form of social activism.

The project began with a series of Open Studio performance workshops at Tate Modern in 2019. Gallery visitors were invited to dress up in QC’s costumes and work with diverse objects and music. These workshops set out to cross borders, confront stereotypes, and challenge gender, racial and class inequalities.

Teasing Out Contingencies seeks to create exciting new narratives, exploring - what is British society now and where are we going? These are timely questions as we emerge from the Covid 19 pandemic, and as we re-examine our relationship with the British monarchy in the wake of the Queen’s passing and the Coronation of King Charles III.


QC’s costume-installation titled 'The Grenadiers' will also be on display at The Higgins. It will showcase costumes worn by workshop participants at Tate Modern, transforming these outfits into a piece of sculpture.

QC's artworks for this show also reference her maverick performance workshop with presenter-comedians Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan for the BAFTA nominated TV series Rob & Romesh Vs on Sky Max. This show made Teasing Out Contingencies accessible during the Covid 19 pandemic when Tate Modern was closed. Follow this link for a clip!

Teasing Out Contingencies is an ongoing project and marks the beginning of a larger body of paintings by QC. The huge response to her workshops at Tate Modern, with over 1,000 people taking part, was spectacular and much appreciated, and QC plans to incorporate imagery of as many participants as possible in her future artworks.

QC would also like to offer special thanks to students from Bedford College, who feature in the painting Carnival Throne.

This project is funded by Arts Council England, and supported by Tate Modern, Bedford Creative Arts, The Higgins Bedford and Bedford Borough Council.