"Any social interaction inspire me; my friends and other strangers’ relationship stories as well as ones depicted in fictions such as songs, movies, books are great sources to base my work on."
Our interview with artist Marie Jacotey of Hannah Barry Gallery, London.
Hello Marie, thank you for finding the time to talk to us. Could you tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been a practising artist and where did you study?
I have been a practising artist since I graduated from my MA in printmaking at the Royal College of Arts in 2013.
Your work feels like a glimpse into people's fleeting thoughts and feelings, almost like extracts from a personal journal. What inspires you to tell these small narratives? Are they biographical?
Any social interaction inspire me; my friends and other strangers’ relationship stories as well as ones depicted in fictions such as songs, movies, books are great sources to base my work on. None of it is ever clearly autobiographical. It might be highly personal and self reflective at times but it never straightforwardly depicts my own life.
The show also coincides with the publication of "Nights of Poor Sleep", a collaborative publication between yourself and poet Rachael Allen. Could you tell us how this came about and the thoughts behind it?
I have loved Rachael’s words from the moment I heard them first: she was giving a reading of her new poems in 2014 at Hannah Barry Gallery during my first solo show there. In January 2016, we collaborated on a commission for Art licks magazine, for which she wrote two poems to go alongside a poster work of mine. A couple months later, she told me she had not been able to stop writing and sent me over 15 new amazing texts all based on former drawings of mine. From those, I started this new series of pastel drawings now exhibited and in the book. I feel it’s been a real luck to spend so much time accompanied by such beautiful writing and it gave me the opportunity to really let the words soak into the drawings and their atmosphere really impregnates me. They’ve defined the mood of a years work.
Could you tell us about your show "Morning Defeats" at Hannah Barry Gallery? What is the meaning behind the title?
It refers to the sleepless nights that come with great life’s turmoil. I find an acute sense of despair in the darkness of the night, all troubles seem amplified and dramatised; it’s hard to emerge full of hope after such intense hours. The atmosphere of the works for this show builds up on this morning feeling of lingering hopelessness.
How do you go about naming your work?
I have always written a lot alongside or on my drawings, so titles often come rather naturally. I see them as an extended part of the narratives at play in the works. In that specific case though, it was an even easier task as most the words come from Rachael’s writings.
Tell us a bit about how you spend your day/studio routine? What is your studio like?
I am in my studio every day from 9/10 am till 7/9 pm (up to seven days a week when busy – but I actively try to not have this happen too often). I absolutely adore my studio space: I am in a shared building run by the architect collective Assemble in Bermondsey with lots of other very talented artists, designers, musicians, makers… I thrive of this community feeling, where everyone runs their own businesses and work their ass off to be free to achieve what they want to. It’s a very empowering setting. On a daily basis, I don’t really have a set schedule but do what needs be done, some days are very boringly administratively tasked, others are more focused on commissioned work and others are pure experimental fun, when I get to make my own personal work.
What artwork have you seen recently that has resonated with you?
I undertook a residency in Denmark this July and had a chance to go and see both shows on at the Louisiana museum then, Tal R (one of my all times favourite) and Marina Abramovic (I only knew her most iconic works before that visit). Both artists were so intense, amazingly good and so prolific; they literally blew my mind! I left there with a prodigious drive and an excitement toward making new and daring work, which is the ultimate feeling I expect to get from seeing a great show: a decupled desire to make.
Is there anything new and exciting in the pipeline you would like to tell us about?
Yes definitely! I am now working on a short animation movie written by Lola Halifa-Legrand and produced by MIYU productions. We are in the development stage of the film and are looking into finding some investors to fund the making! It’s all very exciting… Other than, I have a few leads toward new bodies of work, books and commissions I will be developing over this winter but that’s all to be announced at the appropriate times!
All images courtesy of the artist and Hannah Barry Gallery. Photo credit Damian Griffiths.
Publish date: 28/09/2017