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This February artist Georgie Grace has selected 6 works from the Kettle’s Yard collection alongside two of her prints to go on display in the University Library. Georgie Grace is a visual artist who makes installations, films and, recently, lenticular prints (prints that move as the viewer moves past them). We caught up with Georgie to find out more about the upcoming display.
As a graduate from the University of Cambridge, how does it feel to do a show within the University Library?
I studied social anthropology here, and that has always fed into my practice as an artist. Anthropology is a very expansive discipline, and it encouraged me to be very curious about transitions in culture and the making of meaning. Fine art is also increasingly positioning itself as a research discipline, and emphasising cross-disciplinary practice.I know quite a few artists, myself included, who often spend time in the UL as part of their research process.
It’s new for me to show in a library, but a lot of my work is about the experience of reading,
so it was an appealing proposition to be able to bring that work to the context of the library – and to have them in the transitional space of the lobby. When we encounter text in public space we tend to read it involuntarily – you can’t stop yourself from reading the words and having those thoughts, which are not your own.
Can you tell us a little bit about your work?
I make digital videos, installations, and occasionally prints. A lot of my work involves setting up unstable relationships between text and image, so you may find yourself reading text quite rapidly on a screen, interspersed with images that appear for split seconds.
I’m influenced by our everyday experiences of distraction and information overload, and the difficulty we often have in maintaining a train of thought.
I combine pieces of text from the world around me and edit and intensify them, so what you read makes sense in the moment, but falls apart after the fact. Some of those videos create quite uncomfortable reading experiences, but the prints are quite slow and reflective. Recently I’ve also been making more ambient video works, featuring computer generated landscapes.
When did you start making lenticular prints and what is it about this medium that interests you?
A lenticular print is a form of moving image,
and a slippery surface where text becomes unstable. I wanted to see how a lenticular print would relate to my video moving image works. The videos have long scripts, so with the lenticular prints I wanted to explore using only two lines of text, which could be read either way around and have several layers of interpretation. I’m often thinking about reading on screens, and investigating how it has changed the way we process and retain information. Screen based text is slippery and unfixed, and the lenticular prints mirror those qualities.
Why did you pick these particular pieces from the Kettle’s Yard collection to go in the display with your work?
I chose these works because I felt they share a kinship with the themes and effects of the lenticular prints. They have a feeling of unease, a dangerous time or uncertain position, a sense of otherworldliness and shifting perspective.
While I was developing the prints I began to think about how a landscape on a wall possesses the curious quality of being both inside and outside, a thing to look at or a window to look through.
There’s an interplay in these works between what is revealed by transparency and what is concealed by opacity, a back and forth between flatness and depth. Sometimes you are able to see through, and sometimes you’re reflected back at yourself. The objects and spaces may be withdrawn from you, holding back their secrets, or looking back, and seeing through you.There are points of illumination, and places of darkness and uncertainty.
What other projects have you got coming up?
I did three shows for Jerwood Encounters 3-Phase in 2015, so there was a big emphasis on production and exhibition. This year I want to take time to reflect and experiment. I’m doing a master class at the Zabludowicz Collection in February, and making a new limited edition print for Ambergris Editions, which will be based on the computer generated landscapes from my recent video work.
I’ve been learning how to make 3D environments using a video game engine,
which is how I’ve been producing these videos, and I want to do more coding to develop that mode of production further, so I’ll probably be spending quite a lot of time learning to code and playing with software. Code is another language, and I’m interested in how machine and human languages interact. I’m looking forward to having time to experiment with that.
The Horizon is the Point of No Return: Works by Georgie Grace and from the Kettle’s Yard collection is on display from 11 February – 10 June 2016 in the foyer at the Cambridge University Library.