I am a London-based interdisciplinary artist working with fragments and detritus as an exploration of discomfort. I use artmaking to push at my boundaries – is this strange enough? Is it ugly enough? Has it gone on for long enough?
I create material and immaterial installations using ingredients such as household items, personal possessions, the spoken and written word, found footage, schematics, speech-to-text transcripts, screen captures, memories, and data.
These are driven together in ways that often resist each other. I develop rules to make my work, then I concede to their futility and break or change them; I cycle work through one media to another, degrading the initial instance, and have little interest in high production values. Nevertheless, it is through these ingredients that I conjure personas, stories and worlds.
I’m also interested in how different aspects of a thing create a new instance of that thing. And how to make new sense of those instances especially when they are fractured, disrupted, or interfere with each other.
The way I work is often in longitudinal series that start innocuously and end up developing an unstoppable momentum and unforeseen longevity – which is another form of unease.
Having been an Experience Designer in my former career I’m drawn to multidisciplinary ways of working. Bringing different specialists around a question or problem is another way of crashing disparate things together and creating discomfort. It also leads to new meaning. This way of working has bled into my art practice.
Ongoing projects include: 900 Self Portraits Nr. XXX, (2019 and ongoing), a series of paper assemblages, currently numbering over 1000, that has become work without end; Nothing Matters Now, (2020 and ongoing), monthly sequential recordings of the first coherent thing I hear on the radio each morning, also work without end; They Can Say I Can’t Sing, (2019 and ad hoc), recordings of myself singing to favourite songs; Press 1 4 [insert name of organisation] (2021 and ad hoc), telephone selection menus overlaid on each other.
The 2020/21 pandemic sparked an interest in new paradigms for showing work. I asked myself if it matters how work is shown and whether it is seen. The group exhibition, Unfinished Business, (2021), was held in a shell house only accessible by appointment with an estate agent. The data I collect about making 900 Self Portraits Nr. XXX, (2019 and ongoing) is available in an open-source spreadsheet. I have started a ‘gallery space’, Spread, hosted in a Google Sheets document. I actively seek out alternative locations, both physical and digital, in which to activate and explore my work.
I had the good fortune to receive much of my higher education when it was free or cheap. So I hold a BA (Hons) in Media Production (Bournemouth University, 2:i) and an MSc in Human-Computer Interaction (UCL, Distinction). I have often availed myself of the superb tutoring, and opportunity for learning new skills, on offer at CityLit College, London. My most recent educational foray was the Graduate Diploma in Fine Art (Chelsea College of Art, UAL, Distinction); expensive, but worth it.
My collaborative practice, with artist Mike Abrahams, centres on books, texts and libraries. Our work is participatory, responds to current events, and aims to leave something behind within the community in which it is created.
In First Words in Dalston (2020-23) we collated the first sentence of books contributed, as texts and voice recordings, by locals of Dalston CLR James Library in Dalston, East London, during the 2020/1 pandemic lockdowns. The sentences were painted onto hoardings in the Dalston Square and the recordings were played in a sound installation using the hoardings as speakers. It was a way of connecting the library with the public and the public with its library at a time when connections were both impossible and much needed.
In Worst of Times, Best of Times? (coming May 2022) we have worked with Kensington Central Library, West London, to elicit people’s changing reading habits during and after the 2020/1 lockdowns. These contributions will be made into a visual artwork to be displayed in Kensington Central Library, with accompanying digital instances to be shown in the Borough’s six libraries.
As a collector, I am primarily focussed on contemporary women artists. I like to build a rapport through a genuine interest in their practices and ways of thinking. I number Fleur Deakin, Elspeth Hamilton, Lindsay Mapes and emerging artists Alicia Velazquez and Claire Palmer in my collection.
Download my CV here:
If you would like to know more about my work or arrange a studio visit, please message me on Instagram @francesca.giuliano.here.