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The Absolute enriches the world previously developed for Judd’s exhibition at De Montfort University in 2018. Drawing on Leicester’s rich history, including the 20th century immigration of dispossessed groups, the exhibition explores a fictional lost community, the Welfarers, that once occupied the area now inhabited by De Montfort University.

The mythos of the community is explored through an opening performance, archival objects and museum pieces, installation and moving image. Judd uses this constellation of materials to reveal the characters that form the group’s hierarchy and its factions. The Absolute is an invitation to experience the community’s internal logic, it’s belief system and their history as evidenced through the displays.

Inhabiting a space between theatre and exhibition The Absolute suggests stories and histories that are not fully narrated. The world of the Welfarers is rooted in Leicester’s history as a centre for textile manufacturing; they take as a central metaphor of their belief system the image of weaving as a process of unification and healing that takes on religious significance. This fictional community could be seen as a reincarnation of a lost sense of unity and cohesion; their desire to mend social rifts is poignant within the current divisive climate of nationalist thinking.

Visual and conceptual links are made between the artefacts in the collections and the stories and histories of actual lost communities. Judd, along with his collaborators, makes connections between these disparate elements to form an alternative history that reveals underlying lost narratives between past and present, old and new.

For the realisation of The Absolute Judd worked with a wide range of collaborators across choreography, musical composition, conducting, costume design and writing.

Writer: Rod Duncan
Composer: Apostolis Psihramis
Choreographer: Dionysios Tsaftaridis
Costumer designer: Jo Cope
Costume and exhibition design: Roma Taylor
Musical director: Willard Welsford

Akti Magdalini Konstantinou
Vivian Triantafyllopoulou
Panagiotis Pavlopoulos
Christina Prompona
James Brown

With the De Montfort University Chamber Choir:
Grace Bale
Lucinda Cockerill
Emma Franklin
Richard Grenfell
Gill Hawkes
Dan Kelly
Jeremy Kimber
Andy Watts
Clarissa Wells
Beckie Winter
Josh Wood

The Absolute grew out of Fig Futures, which was supported by Arts Council England, Outset and Art Fund in 2018.

Thanks to Arts Council England, Y-Heritage, De Montfort University, Nottingham Trent University and Leeds Beckett University for their support.

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Photography by Rod Duncan and Julian Hughes.