Thursday, 10 March 2011

Where Are We Now? interview with Emily Speed

Emily Speed’s drawings, sculptures, installations and bookworks draw upon the metaphorical potential of architecture. Architecture is considered both as an emblem of humankind’s futile ambition for permanence and as container for often vital components of personal memory and identity. Working site-responsively she embeds transience within her works through propping, wedging, balancing and temporarily fixing.

Emily has received a number of awards, has exhibited internationally and will hold her first solo exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2011. Emily has also completed residencies at Salzamt Atelierhaus, Linz with Liverpool Biennial, Women's Studio Workshop, New York and Hospitalfield Trust, Arbroath.

What's new?
Old (it's been going on for a while) and still new is my work at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where I will have my first solo exhibition in July 2011. I have been spending a lot of time at the park so it has become like a semi-residency and has been a really productive time. Very new will be performing a work in public there, I have never done this before and am excited/terrified. I am building a coracle to sail in on the lake at YSP am really enjoying it. I can't say a lot about this work as it is so new and unformed, but I feel like I am getting bolder in my choices and that my practice is getting sturdier legs.

Where are we now?
It can never be a level playing field when women are the ones who have babies. However, I would love to see an end to the idea that art is a hobby for many women - nothing I can substantiate, but I trust the feeling I have when I detect patronising or dismissive talk.

What's to be done?
This feels like a huge question! In the arts I think it would be helpful to discourage the simplistic reading of works as feminine if they contain fabric/thread/pink etc. On a larger scale I would like to see less pornographisaton of everyday culture and sack off the idea that real women should resemble these hairless, maquillaged, dumb holes with legs.

Who's next?
So many! On a local level (Liverpool) I think Laurence Payot is doing very interesting work and that Vanessa Bartlett is a great writer/thinker/curator. I recently met a group of women artists in New York who are part of W.A.G.E. (Working artists and the greater economy), campaigning for artists rights alongside their own practices. They are an awesome force. I am also very interested in women re-claiming the architectural sphere, which has been a male dominated sphere since it began. MUF architects, a student group called FATALE and the artist Ursula Mayer (LOVE) are all adding interesting fodder to this area of research around feminist space.

What are you looking forward to?
Returning to Japan next week after seven years away (I taught English there after graduating). It's a place I love and I am glad to get the chance to get away and shake things up a little. Then it will be the YSP show, which is about as far into the future as I can cope with at the moment. Otherwise I am taking part in a residency called 'Small Scale Survival with Aid & Abet in Cambridge in April, a group exhibition in Milan at ASSAB One in May/June, I will also do a performance in Rotterdam in September and I hope I will be returning to work in Linz, Austria again in October. After that I might try and tackle the difficult issue of having babies and maintaining a career...

1 comment: