"An idea is one thing, and what happens next is another."
Interview by writer Keanu Arcadio
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Where did you study?
I am an artist based in London. My work takes the form of sculpture, painting, installation and performance. I was raised in Hackney, East London. The distance between my primary and secondary school is roughly five minutes apart. During this period, I spent the majority of my time playing football. Art became the focal point in college. After completing my foundation course, I made the decision to leave London and further my education. I moved to South Yorkshire to study Contemporary Fine Art with Philosophy at Sheffield Hallam University. I had a very interesting experience in Sheffield.
The atmosphere is different from London, but also similar in the sense of the City Centre being very compact. But here is the trick, the moment you take the bus towards the opposite direction; you are confronted with this beautiful yet complex landscape. This shift triggered a whole new conversation. From that moment on, I became interested in processing information and philosophy provided me with open-ended questions. The same year after completing my degree, I enrolled on an MA Fine Art course at Chelsea College of Arts, graduating in 2011.
Let’s go through your body-video piece, Repetition and Variation. At first reading I couldn’t help but interpret the work as an allegory of the urban individual striving, striving in the athletic sense to achieve one’s goals, similar to how Koon’s approached creating, Three Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Two Dr J Silver Series, Spalding NBA Tip-Off) 1985. Already there arises a potential problem with this reading, but it is an inevitable one with the signifiers you deployed; the hoody pulled up and socks in open sandals. Was there any specific intention to present yourself in this way and do you think you would have executed the work differently if you chose to wear different attire?
There was no specific reason. I was simply curious. An idea is one thing, and what happens next is another. Repetition and Variation, is a reflection on how I was feeling that particular day. And I do believe the execution would have been different if I decided to wear something else or the space was less confined. Just like a painter’s palette, the energy would change the moment you introduce or remove an existing shape. The work is a manifestation of the need to get somewhere, to feel something, to embrace the condition connected with this action.
With your more bodily gestural work, Division 2016, Repetition and variation part II 2014, there is a re-occurring element of striving to an end, or working until physical or mental exhaustion. Did these works begin from an existential investigation and if so, how do you then begin to approach creating a work to solve a philosophical investigation?
I agree there is a re-occurring element. I made these videos as a way to deal with the mental side of my practice. I create in order to gain a better understanding and through this desire to learn, I try to expand and introduce more questions. I never begin with grand ideas only through the process one thing leads to another and the investigation never ends.
What artwork have you seen recently that has resonated with you?
What has resonated with me is not an artwork. I recently visited Picasso at Tate Modern: 1932 - Love, Fame, Tragedy. What I enjoyed was the level of commitment and the quantity of works produced during one calendar year.
The sculpture, Spark of Innocence carries an air of Richard Tuttle’s approach to sculpture, in the respect of using wood with a lightness, positing them rather than screwing them. This piece also seems like a departure from the more tumultuous body-video works. Was there a specific event that occurred in your life to inspire you to make this piece and approach to making?
Not necessarily a specific event in my life. As an analogy, in a broad sense, I am interested in the energy possessed by a body and how that body is able to function. Spark of Innocence emerged from that type of conversation. This work allowed me to occupy multiple territories while remaining fundamentally about sculpture. From this point, I made various objects that explored delicacy, intimacy and subtlety.
Tell us a bit about how you spend your day / studio routine? What is your studio like?
I have no specific routine and my working hours change from time to time. I start early and I just stay in the studio. I devote a few hours reading or thinking and the remaining to making work. Sometimes I spend the whole day just making. Everything that happens in the studio is important. I often watch movies, anime or play games. My studio has two windows that provide me with natural light. I created a shelf to store a small collection of books.
Is there anything new and exciting in the pipeline you would like to tell us about?
Yes. I am currently making new works in the studio and preparing for the following. Nine-week summer residency program: Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, USA. 1 day collaborative project, titled: Reshaping Spontaneity. Working with Steve Hines: NN Contemporary (project space) in Northampton, Saturday 22 September. Group Exhibition curated by Robin Footitt: New Art Projects, Thursday 01 November to Friday 21 December 2018.
All images courtesy of the artist
Publish date: 30/5/18