Social and political implications cannot be detached from objects. I am interested in how I can re-arrange the ‘thing,’ so its symbolic connotations emerge or are contradicted. My work combines sculpture, paint and installation, and can be both formal and visceral, anarchic and structured, irreverent and challenging.
I take objects to pieces or cut them with a jigsaw—chairs, drawers, earth, ironing boards, books, language, fairy tales, and filmic images/text—and questioning their many facets—patriarchal, gendered or heteronormative—use a feminist gaze, to re-construct or re-frame them.
Fragments of patriarchy (2010)—an installation with book, bench, plinth, and scattered fragments of a chair around the building or gallery. An old fashioned but familiar dining room chair—a symbol of respectability and normality—has been cut up with a jigsaw. The transformation is violent like Cornelia Parker’s shed—the after (patriarchy) effects have a formal beauty and at the same time the power of the patriarchal form is challenged, its place at the top of the hierarchy reduced to fragments.
I have deconstructed notebooks, produced texts on tracing paper. Secret Lives (2008)—paper houses from journal entries. The houses range from 1cm square, their increasing size representing the secrets our houses may contain. No Maps of the Known World (2011) explores how a girl makes sense of her surroundings through the textures her bare feet encounter.
There is a contrast in my work between a formal exploration of concept, form and structure, construction and deconstruction and a raw unfinished immediacy which invites visceral reactions. Untitled, 2010, (after Tuttle) combines these elements. Made from cut parts of furniture, and paint, its triangular shapes, raw edges, and unknown interiors, has a lesbian eroticism.
Leaping (2010) is an installation of drawers, paint and mixed media, creating a room-sized free space with wall, floor and hanging cords. Leaping liberates drawers from their lifetimes of servitude and allows them to play in a room of their own. This work has gone on to become Servitude Begone.
Much of my work confronts gender issues through text and form. The Secret Life of Words (2008), is an anonymous box containing untapped potential. Photographs of the street bear political statements as if they are projected onto/into the world.
Art Forum invites everyone to join in finding out how many (what proportion of) women are represented in the magazine. Finding out for yourself has more impact than being told.
I am both a poet and an artist, and tho’ these impulses and processes operate in different parts of my mind and body, I am now often using text in my artwork, especially political text. I have been/am a writer, activist, consultant, and community worker. I obtained a BA in Fine Art in 2006, and am studying for an MA at Sir John Cass School of Art (London Met).
In 2006, I set up and co-ordinated wall/space, with Helen Brown, an arts group which ran 10 varied exhibitions in Highbury, and the Rivington Gallery, Shoreditch.
I took part in the Two Degrees festival in London in 2009, as a member of femadlib, an activist ad hoc art group, and I contribute weekly to an art group for vulnerably housed people at Crisis, in London. I am a member of the Dyke Modern (Brighton), Nine Artists, whose three shows have focused on the concepts and materiality of earth/soil, and of Stoke Newington Art Group (SNAG)—first show LOCAL, April 2011, Karin Janssen Studio and Project Space, Hackney. www.karinjanssen.com.
In July 2011, 73Women will produce I’s, SHES, HERS AND OURS (I-SHO), Women’s and Feminist Art, in Stoke Newington. email@example.com
I have been in numerous group shows in London, Brighton and Colchester and I have recently co-ordinated a feminist live art event—RED SHOES—in a Hackney park (2010). Video on Youtube shortly.
Get in touch if you are interested in any of these projects.