Jennifer Campbell

9th Aug 2018

1. Hi Jennifer, thanks so much for participating – we hope you’re enjoying the tea! Can you give us an introduction to your practice, interests and experiences?

In the studio I use a state of play in order to re-visit certain themes + question society’s assumptions about them: transformation; the idea of a continuous self; exteriority; gender; mortality; dressing up; singularity; qualia; time. I work in loops, repeating but always changing.

2. Can you talk to us about your working processes, and how you go about researching ideas?

DRAWING → frequent starting point BUT it can start from anything + then it is re-arranged over + over, a kind of disorientation flows + yet some order structures the process.


3. It’s interesting to engage with an artist online, having not had the pleasure of engaging with the work in person (someday soon we hope!) – even on screen both your artist statement and the documentation of your work communicate a ceratin playfulness and an emphasis on texture (eg. Prawny Hesitation). Can you talk about your use of material?

Colour is never without texture + texture is never without colour. I’ve recently been viewing my work as an antidote to image – culture – mainly the photograph. The photograph can never describe an experienced moment.

4. Can you talk to us a little bit about your upcoming show at Outpost Gallery, Norwich?

G.L.A.M.O.U.R.O.U.S – THE POP HIT BY ‘FERGIE’, LYRICS: “WE FLYIN FIRST CLASS UP IN THE SKY POPPIN CHAMPAGNE LIVIN MY LIFE IN THE FAST LANE". This song is like a photograph in a travel-agents window. I wanted to move ‘glamorous’ way from this + locate a different possibility for THE GLAMOROUS. If we change language it might be possible to free-up new spaces for behaviour + navigation within society + not be so COG – LIKE in the way we live. I was worried about what it is like to be a teenager right now. I also wanted to celebrate transformation + Herman Hesse’s book STEPPENWOLF ended up being an important ingredient. I lived in Norwich as a student in my early 20’s so it also felt like a loop in time being back there to install the show. I collaborated with my past self. I ended up focusing on my concern that certain spaces might be disappearing. Not necessarily places… spaces for spontaneity perhaps? Spaces where a group of people can be themselves + not be structured by capitalist atmospheres + rules. I made a netball court because I HATE NETBALL.

8. In your statement you write about how easy (and dangerous) it would be for us to ‘imagine we are part of a story, a slick dependable logic’, does your practice provide a diversion from logic or do you see it as something that embodies a logic all of its own, perhaps offering up its own story?

Story’s are certainly a frequent site of danger. But I don’t think it’s possible to live as a human without them. I want to point out the stories we tell to ourselves + ask if we can re-tell them, delete them, re-arrange them + become aware of their influence on our behaviour. Denial is a survival mechanism + once you start noticing it you see it everywhere. I notice it in me, in others + in the structuring of society, especially through the packaged idea of happiness. The truth is we all want things to be simpler than they are. Stories have been used to motivate the worst of human acts.

Equally, I am in awe of literature at the moment – fictional narrative especially can describe the world more accurately than a photo – sensations + observations describe not just figure, not just landscape, but figure-in-landscape, externally bonded. I especially appreciate very descriptive narrative writing, such as Virginia Wolf, Harper Lee, Laurie Lee … I’m no expert on literature: I got into reading late in the game, being a slow reader as a child + too drunk to read as a teen. The reason I’m pointing out these books is not to say this or that author has the absolute right idea, but because of my concern that certain things are becoming diminished. What are we not noticing anymore? How is our experience shrinking? I’m worried no one allows themselves to be bored + that society is becoming very fearful + very channelled. I’m worried it’s becoming a game of winning + losing. I’m concerned about where the time is going.

10. If you had unlimited access to resources and funding, is there a piece of project that you would like to realise?

I would like to design a park with a forest in it + a pond to swim in. There would be giant sculptures made of sandstone + also piles of sand. There would be under-water artworks too. On entry to the park one would have to choose an outfit from an immense selection of garments.


Jennifer Campbell is a painter, sculptor and installation artist based in East London. You can find her on instagram at @jennifer_caroline_campbell and on her website