Tag Archives: Lana Locke


To mark the end of Lana Locke’s PhD on The feral, the art object and the
social, she will create a sprawling installation of objects, images and videos in
Chelsea College of Arts’ Cookhouse Gallery that make flesh the practice-based
nature of her research.

Here, the practice becomes entangled in an unruly relation with the space:
scratched, seeping forms evoking bodily organs, liquids and waste do not rest
within the contours of a body, but act as infectious elements, moving through the
environment, speaking to a social body uncontained by the gallery. Clay tower
blocks and burnt out metal plants germinate amongst the husks of Locke’s external
and internal installations and protests of the last four years, rejecting
gentrification, as she seeks to reclaim the social within the material.

Locke’s conception of the feral scavenges (physically, socially and
metaphorically) in the gap between defined spaces, and draws out the political
promise of the indeterminate state of being neither wild nor
civilised. Originating as a retaliation against the former British Lord Chancellor
Kenneth Clarke’s labelling of a ‘feral underclass’ in the 2011 London riots, she
seeks to unfix the feral from this uncivilised, abject position. Her practice
resists the ‘civilising’ borders of the spheres of display it interpenetrates.
However, like the feral, it does not attack the boundaries directly: it is
furtive; it must creep over, under and through the boundaries to survive.

The Cookhouse space is treated as a physical manifestation of the academic
framework of an arts PhD, and the institutional rigidity, regulation, and
political and economic pressures the practice has sought to gnaw away at when
confronted by this structure. Yet as Locke equates the temporary installation of
art objects in the space to the status of squatters passing through, the days of
her own squatting period of doctoral study have reached their end, its contingent
permissions and protection withdrawing. As her practice has poked into, picked at,
and soaked through any porosity and permeability of boundaries, inside and outside
of the rules of the University, that might allow her to leach it for a little more
supply (of workshop access, of materials, of knowledge), so must she now move on.

Art Riot

Art Riot calls on artists and art students to bring or perform an artwork on Saturday at 20 June at the Bank of England in a gathering and marching of a multitude of artworks as part of End Austerity Now. People are invited to bring any kind of portable, wearable or performable art work to accompany yourself as artwork at the riot.

Rather than necessarily creating unified slogans or banners in articulated protest, this is a performative platform that brings art out of the studio and onto the streets to create an alternative, unmediated engagement with a moving, public space that is equally unharmonious.

The project rejects and operates outside of the limitations imposed on the role of art and the artist by an Austerity government that sees our value in terms of economics – from art as a commodity, to our ability to enhance London property value, to our tuition fee value 5 years on from the 2010 student protests. The End Austerity route will march from Bank to Parliament Square, but we will continue on to Millbank Tower, retracing the failed 2010 student protest.

Art Riot is created by Chelsea College of Arts PhD students Lana Locke, Joshua Y’Barbo and Keun Hye Lee and we will be putting together a publication to follow the event – to which you are also invited to submit artwork or text.

Art Riot will meet at 12pm on 20 June at the corner of Bucklersbury and Walbrook (close to the Bank of England / Bank tube station).

Strange Attraction

Dear A, I’m attracted to you, and I don’t know why.

            Shall we be friends?

Artworks can write letters too, inasmuch as they reach out, make lines of contact with other artists, and forge an aesthetic of correspondence. In Strange Attraction, a group exhibition of six artists working in a variety of media at APT Gallery, curated by Emily Purser, that correspondence is curated and archived, as the works speak to one another through their shared preoccupations. Sometimes the works’ closeness can be found in the processes in which they have been made, or the materials that have been manipulated, and sometimes it is found in the works’ ideas, its postscripts and its messages.

Many of the artists gathered here are interested in biography, not as a mapped out narrative, but as an affective pool: a script to be rewritten and performed, as pliable as paper. And even when the life is not visible in the works’ imagery, it exists in the frenetic states of matter and experience that the work has endured.

The abject body is a marginal unclean thing, potentially transgressive in its borderline subversiveness. In Lana Locke’s work, the sculptor references this body, but fragments it, creating sculptural installations that suggest, or indeed perform, a loose and perverse corporeality. Heads float. Limbs are scattered about like twigs on the ground. Bloody sheets fall from flowers on plinths. Locke returns to APT Gallery having previously exhibited there in the Creekside Open 2013, where she won Paul Noble’s Selector’s Prize. Her works in Strange Attraction include the pictured sculpture, Bridal Piece III (2014). Locke says, ‘I am thrilled to return to APT Gallery to be part of this beautiful exhibition curated by Emily Purser. My own work in the show is very personal, and it is clear that all the artists have very different approaches. Yet as you walk around the exhibition, many subtle, organic underlying threads emerge between the artworks of the group and they seem to speak to each other. It is a haunting, strangely uplifting exhibition that I am proud to be a part of.’

This mode of identity performance is similarly found in Lady Lucy’s paintings, which draw on documentary and interview research, to create portraits of layered and collaged material, often incorporating art historical gestures and tropes. Defiantly appropriated, the self is rendered a composite artificial object.

Andrew Mania makes art akin to the obsessive habits of a collector, transcribing people and objects. In his work, the autobiographical is recast in small, coloured pencil drawings, and even smaller paintings: a public re-reading of the intimate. The blue eyes of a young boy gaze out from the canvas, affective and abject: it is a look of innocence, melancholy, desire and love.

In Vanessa Mitter’s paintings, the personal is also treated as a pliant material, a source of affect and investigation, but also of fiction and performance. Collage, paint and pigment find a way on to the canvas in ephemeral expressive gestures. There is an abject narrative at play – of lost childhood and drifting brides – but it is a narrative that wanders in and around the artifice of the material.

In Hannah Campion’s work, painting is made into a happening, and then an installation, as her worked on canvases are then reworked into ambiguous three-dimensional forms, which are strewn on the floor or pinned to the wall. The paper or canvas undergoes all kind of processes: it is crushed, trampled, nailed, repaired, collaged. It is an active, performative mode of painting, which is also a site-specific response to the surrounding space.

Eleanor Moreton is similarly interested in painting as performance. In her work, narrative is not so much read as experienced. She provides the protagonist and the prop, often drawing on her own personal histories; but with the medium and its application (part abstract, part figurative), comes an ambiguous appropriation of the primary material. As in the work of the other five artists, the raw is remoulded as an artistic event.

In Strange Attraction, the viewer will find six distinct but correspondent practices, whereby narratives relating to the bodily and the biographical are re-made in painting, sculpture and installation. In these intimate objects, the personal evades our grasp when the performance takes over.

The exhibition is at A.P.T Gallery, 20th March – 5 th April 2015, with a private view on 19th March, 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Curator’s panel discussion and SLAM (South London Art Map) last Fridays opening 27th March, 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

Gallery Opening Hours: 12.00-5.00pm, Thursday to Sunday

Passport to Pimlico: May Day Art Day in Churchill Gardens Estate

Passport to Pimlico: May Day Art Day in Churchill Gardens Estate has now been published and is available to view as an ebook and print on-demand (ISBN: 978-1-908339-13-3).

The publication documents a one-day collaborative art event, held on 5 May 2014 in Pimlico’s largest housing estate, featured over 60 artists. The event and the publication were created by first year CCW PhD student Lana Locke, supported by CCW Student Initiative funding.

Elaborating on the background to the event, Locke says:

‘The title Passport to Pimlico came from the 1949 Ealing comedy of the same name, in which residents of Pimlico find an ancient document which allows them to declare themselves independent from the rest of Great Britain, its laws and governance.

Following the themes of the film, the intention of the Passport to Pimlico event was to offer participants, residents and visitors an ideal of freedom through the creation of an independent art state within the community. It also presented an opportunity for us as art practitioners and researchers to consider what rules and regulations we should seek to resist, within the context of art practice, research and education.

Held on the May Day Bank Holiday, I invited content that referenced both traditional (spring/pagan) and political May Day themes to reflect that. I saw within these twin threads further layers of meaning about community rebellion and the celebration of the eruption of spring following the sterility and containment of winter.

The “initiative” was a gift. I make sculptures and installations using found objects and appropriated spaces. In a similar way I was very lucky to find and appropriate the funding, location and collaborators for this event. I deliberately described myself as the event “creator” rather than “curator” as I wanted the work to happen as freely as possible on the day. It grew organically through the artists understanding the idea, generously getting involved and bringing others in, too – whether current students, alumni, tutors or invited external artists.

This generosity expanded to the location: Team Churchill in Churchill Gardens Estate allowed us to take over for free a public square and community hall within the largest housing estate in Pimlico; the adults and children visiting the event saw, heard, tasted and experienced everything for free; the activity of art allowed the local participants a freedom beyond the usual remit of the Hall and Square, and the Hall and Square allowed the artists a freedom beyond the usual remit of their practice.’

Damaging Objects

Damaging Objects is the first in a series of solo exhibitions by emerging contemporary artists at Schwartz Gallery, and Lana Locke’s first gallery solo show.

Damaging Objects has two implications for the art objects in the exhibition: objects that have damage done to them, and objects that are enacting damage (or planning to). Building on the themes of Locke’s practice-based PhD focused on the agonistic struggle of the art object against the space in which it is installed, the objects and the gallery space become adversaries in a power struggle. Setting up a precarious environment in the gallery, the twin strands of damage seep from the objects as they engage with the space: the one strand aggressive, picking a fight with the space; the other melancholic, fragile, and licking their wounds.

Questions are raised as to what the fight is about, how the objects and space might cause each other damage, and what the result of their conflict will be.

Damaging Objects follows Locke’s appearance in two Schwartz Gallery group shows in 2013, Punk Salon and ex-ca-vate-site-one, and her selection in the same year for Bloomberg New Contemporaries and Creekside Open (Paul Noble Selector’s Prize). She is a current PhD student at CCW, supported by Chelsea Arts Club Trust.

The private view is Wednesday 23rd April 2014, 6-9 pm, and the exhibition is open 23rd April – 18th May 2014. Further information can be found at Schwartz Gallery.