Hannah Perry - Im Gespräch


Hannah Perry, CRYDAGGERS

Die aus England stammende multidisziplinäre Künstlerin Hannah Perry lebt und arbeitet in London. Mit ihren Arbeiten entwickelt sie ein weitläufiges Netzwerk an Referenzen, welches persönliche Erinnerungen in unserer medialisierten Gesellschaft erforscht. Sie widmet sich in erster Linie Videoarbeiten, schafft aber auch Installationen, Prints, Skulpturen und arbeitet außerdem im performativen Bereich.

2009 graduierte sie am Goldsmiths College und schloss 2014 ihr Studium an der Royal Academy of Arts in London ab. Ihre Arbeiten waren unter anderem in den Einzelausstellungen "100 Problems", Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin und "Mercury Retrograde", Seventeen, London zu sehen. Ihre jüngsten institutionellen Gruppenausstellungen beinhalten "If we think bad" im Arsenal in Montreal, "New Order 2" in der Saatchi Gallery, London und "Stedelijk at Trouw: Contemporary Art Club – DATA" im Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

Amar Priganica und Marie-Claire Gagnon haben die Künstlerin für PARNASS getroffen, um mit ihr über ihre Videoarbeiten, Geschlechterrollen und Cultural Appropriation zu sprechen.


Amar Priganica & Marie-Claire Gagnon: Your video works keep the viewer guessing - you’re mixing found footage with very personal images. The lines in-between stay blurred, which creates an atmosphere that is quite hard to grasp. You’re creating moods and feelings, not telling specific storylines. Would you mind sharing your thoughts on the creation process and the languages you’re using within your works?

Hannah Perry: Going back to the start of my practice, it had more to do with found footage. I used to rip things from all over the place. Once upon a time, I was quite uncomfortable with the idea of making videos and I didn’t know how to use my voice yet. Like what is my voice, what am I trying to say? I kept finding this really rich footage from different sources and I started to communicate my voice through it. What was then interesting, was trying to build up my confidence to film my own stuff. Over time, mixing the footage became a mechanism to place my personal experiences in a more ambiguous way. It stays unclear whether it is or isn’t my footage, which puts me in a very comfortable position.

A lot of my recent works have to do with memories, moments, certain situations and feelings. It’s very difficult to quantify these things within moving images though. They’re obviously personal but I’m trying to lift it away from being about my life. It’s impossible to have an exact image for a specific feeling. There is no truth in any scenario. It’s all perception and that’s just how the brain works. When we see something, we don’t just think of one particular thing, our thoughts bounce around. The process of thinking is all about associations and that’s my editing style as well. So I’m trying to mediate it away from a linear story, particularly my story. I don’t want to dictate my experiences, that’s not what it’s about.

AP: That makes sense. We felt really connected to your video work CRYDAGGERS, it’s quite relatable.

HP: That’s nice to hear! When I’m using a clip of my nieces playing I’m trying to tap into that inner child. It’s this warm feeling of playing when you were younger, this innocence, this playfulness. In CRYDAGGERS, this particular feeling gets disrupted by images of the situations that change this young innocence. It’s like a disillusionment and therefore directly relatable in that way. If it were in a story narrative, it would become cinematic and I’m trying to avoid that. It’s supposed to have much more to do with our personal memories.

MCG: We were wondering about the materials you’re using outside of your video works. Car parts and lipstick for example are quite loaded with gender stereotypes. What’s the intention behind using materials like that?

HP: I come from a very heteronormative environment, which is something that’s deeply rooted in the social class in the North of England. My dad is a welder, my mum was a cook, my brother does building and my sister works in telesales. These are classic working class jobs that are drenched in specific gender roles. I always gravitated towards spending time with the men in my family. So I come from a place of understanding macho masculinity in quite a sympathetic way. A lot of the things I’m using, like construction materials and car parts, have a masculine connotation. But I’ve also been using over-sexualized materials at the minute, like liquid latex and stuff that’s very sensual. So it’s a mixing of these hard, solid pieces with sensual, bodily materials. And this works as commentary alongside my video works. You’re watching the film while being surrounded by an installation that has all these tropes. So it starts to place the context of the film in these spaces - and the context of the work into a bigger dialogue. I like the connotations of this idea of trauma, basically. I like to work with the image of a car crash. And this idea of an emotional car crash acts as an umbrella to see the other pieces.

AP: When thinking about a car crash in the context of art history, one gets strong associations to Andy Warhol’s work. Is there any sort of reference to the "Car Crash" series?

HP: I don’t really know much about Warhol but he supposedly was a very cold character, right? He was viewing things in a very sensationalist way. I reckon that the way he would look at car crash would be as a spectacle - and in that way sexy. I relate to this from the exact opposite position. It’s basically from a females perspective and I hate to make it gendered like that, but I’m coming from a space where it’s all about this internal dialogue as opposed to the observing spectacle. We’re looking at things from a different angle. Warhol would be looking at the car crash from the outside and I’m on the inside looking out. It kind of goes back to stereotypes and cliches that are inhabiting a space. But it’s okay to be emotional. It’s about inhabiting these spaces in a comfortable way. I just come from a different position.

MCG: I guess everybody should just be aware of the position and space they’re inhabiting, right?

HP: Absolutely, I feel quite strongly about not appropriating culture. For me it’s important to talk about the things that I know. The things that I have a knowledge of and a sensitivity to. I’ve seen it quite a lot recently, even not art related - people trying to associate with an aesthetic or a culture that’s not their own only because it’s cool or whatever. And I’m talking about appropriating culture here, not sampling. The reality of being in a less privileged position and the fetishization of that. That’s two very different things. I think it’s really important to have your own position when making work.

AP: You’re in a very interesting position since you grew up in this working-class-environment that you mentioned earlier but you’re also a very successful artist.

HP: Yes, the position that I got myself in these days is very comfortable and privileged. I’ve been institutionalized and am aware of the fact that I’m part of the art market. But in the end, after all the traveling and meeting new people, I still go home to the North of England to be with my family.

What I’m trying to say is that it’s not about "Oh, I’m this or that". It’s more about "That’s something that I understand from the experience of it". There are certain difficulties, struggles and things that are really unequal. I have a sensibility to that and I feel like if you’re not from that position you can not be able to fully understand what the problems are.

MCG: But there is a change in that at the moment, right? It feels as though the old structures are crumbling since there’s a lot of political discourse about race, class, gender and all these things these days.

HP: The art market and the world in general have been dominated by white privileged middle class men for a long time and I feel that these positions feel threatened now. A dialogue about these issues you mentioned is opening up and it might be difficult for them to stay relevant. I’m not saying that white middle class men don’t have anything to talk about but there are a lot of young, multicultural artists and musicians coming through that are making work about their feelings and their position in the world, which is really important. Let them have their space, you know. I think it’s a good thing that the old structures are getting disrupted. I really love the Solange Album, it’s sick. It seems like a turning point in music to be so political and be a pop icon at the same time. To be in that dominant cultural space and to talk very critically about being black. It’s incredible!

So there definitely is a shift going on at the moment and I think that’s reflecting a lot in the art that is being made these days.