For our final week of In Detail, we have been talking to JL Williams and Catherine Street, discussing their inspirations, creative process and the different ways in which their projects take place.
A lot of your work is performative. When did you first start to become interested in Spoken Word? Are there any Spoken Word artists who you particularly admire?
JL Williams: I once saw the poet Michael Longley read at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and he was asked at the end of the event whether he thought poetry belonged on the page or on the tongue. He answered that he thought poetry was (pointing to his mouth) first oral, then (pointing to his ear) aural, and then for the page. This rang true to me.
In my experience, poetry comes as emotion, sound, observation, reflection, story, image. I hear the words and write the words that form in my head so I can remember them and share them with people who aren’t in the room with me. If people are in the room, then I am eager to share the work by reading out these written down words, or sometimes even singing them. I don’t separate the two (written/spoken) in the act of creation. I don’t think of some of my work as specifically for the page and some as specifically for performance, and I would not call myself a Performance Poet or a Spoken Word Artist. Performance Poetry and Spoken Word are diverse categories, and there are artists I admire and cultures associated with these forms that I enjoy very much. I respect these categories but in my own performance and curatorial work I strive to break down divisions between the written and spoken poetic word. I find it more rewarding and creative to think of how we share poetic work in a fluid and responsive way… what does the poem desire? What does the moment desire?
Originally from New Jersey, US, artist, poet and performer, JL Williams studied for an MLitt in Creative Writing from Glasgow University. Throughout her career Williams has worked across a vast array of cultural projects, from the writing of an Opera to creating workshops and performing at live poetry events.
Collaboration and performance play an important role in the development of both poetry and language within her practice. Williams has collaborated with numerous artists, poets and musicians, Iain Morris, James Iremonger, Anna Chapman and Alastair Cook to name a few. One of Williams’ most prominent collaborations throughout her career has been with artist and friend, Catherine Street, performing and writing together throughout several exhibitions and sound-performances.
This collaboration is ever-present within Between poles and tides. Whilst walking through the exhibition, visitors can listen to an emotive audio recording of Williams in an abstract and imagined dialogue with Street. This dialogue became a reality at the end of last month when the two women performed the piece in the gallery space, creating a live, poetic environment.
Lauren Hawkins, Talbot Rice Gallery Intern
The late Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925 -2006) forged a career as one of Scotland’s most successful and distinguished artists. Finlay was born and raised in both Glasgow and the Orkney Islands, but later moved to practice in Edinburgh where he became a founding member of the Concrete Poetry movement.
Katie Paterson is a Glasgow-born visual artist who graduated from ECA in 2004, before completing her MFA at the Slade School of Art three years later.
Now living and working in Berlin, Paterson’s practice is concerned with ecology, technology and astronomy. Throughout her career she has presented a body of work which has drifted from the physical landscapes of Earth, to the incalculability of the universe, often investigating the mysteries of our galaxy through a framework of scientific and conceptual projects. She uses the tangible object to capture the intangible nature of the cosmos and beyond.
A lot has been written about the relationship between the Polish artist Wilhelm Sasnal and Luc Tuymans. Both artists (each represented by Saatchi Gallery) incorporate found, banal and everyday images of mass media into a wider socio-political narrative worked into their paintings, prints and drawings. Influences from art history and 20th century propaganda are used to heavily influence their works, presenting visually fragmented appropriations of historical events and persons; the stronghold of the Soviet Union, Alexander Rodchenko, suicide bombing, the holocaust and British celebrity culture.
In addition to his plethora of paintings, prints and drawings, Tuymans has also curated a number of shows throughout the years….
THE STATE OF THINGS. BRUSSELS/ BEIJING
18 October 2009- 10 January 2010
Image courtesy of The State of Things
2015 BRUGES TRIENNIAL OF CONTEMPORARY ART
Image courtesy of Bruges Triennial
CONSTABLE, DELACROIX, FRIEDRICH AND GOYA. A SHOCK TO THE SENSES.
16 March 2012- 4 August 2013
Graduating from ECA in 2016, Lafarge has since established herself within Edinburgh as an artist exploring the intricacies of language and spoken word.
In recent months her selected texts have been published on literary platforms such as Poetry London, The Poetry Review and Annuale 2016. She also performs her poetic musings at live events around the city.
We have been talking to artist Jessica Harrison about some of her past projects; understanding and probing the ideologies surrounding the iconic ‘Painted Ladies’….
I was looking at your participation in The Stone project, a body of work you completed in 2009; it seemed to be a challenging project to work on. Did it inspire or perhaps set in motion any of your future works?
Watch Jessica Harrison talk about her three month long residency in Oisterwijk, Netherlands.
Jessica Harrison’s work has been widely accepted as iconic and subversive, aggressive and gory, beautiful and transcendent. Her work has inspired a great amount of press over the years, read a selection below:
The Skinny- Jessica Harrison Feminist Figurines
“The thing about these figurines is they’re these beautiful ladies with their impossibly fair skin and their worry free expressions and their buoyant skirts, but they’re hollow and empty; I wanted to turn them inside out and expose that hollowness,”