Artist and writer, Sharon Kivland, splits her time between London and France.
What are you doing today?
I am trying to clear my desk of everything that has been left undone. I am at matter number five now. I have been working on an exhibition with the Franc Bretagne, in relation to a ‘historic’ collection of sculptures which has been set in conversation with forty women artists. Entitled Armel Beaufils, le Regard des femmes, it opens next week. We have been compelting the components and the book that accompanies, and begin a complex installation on Tuesday. I am also editing a number of essays for publication (not mine), adding Oxford commas.
Describe where you do most of your creative work.
In my head, on trains, at airports, museums, archives, libraries, department stores, vide greniers, and sometimes, in my studio. But it usually feels like the works happen when I am installing them. This does not apply to the books I produce, where the thinking has already happened.
What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
It is always the next one.
What made you decide to become an artist?
I do not think it was really a decision. I rather slipped into it, and then it was too late. I have tried to escape, as an art historian, a psychoanalyst manqué, an academic …
What are you currently working on?
I am working on a exhibition entitled Entreprise de séduction, for autumn at the Espace d’art contemporain Haute Ecole des Commerce, Jouy-en-Josas, which will be followed next year by a book. This is an exhibition in five parts, each corresponding to a room in the exhibition space. The work developed from research on the Manufacture Oberkampf in the archives of the Musée de toile de Jouy, and the exhibition will be followed by a publication in 2018. The period of activity of the Manufacture Oberkampf spans early industrial development in pre-revolutionary France to its closure in 1843; the end of the empire marks the decline of the enterprise. The Manufacture may be noted for the ‘benevolent’ factory conditions, the pastoral and political images of the printed cloth it produced, and its somewhat concealed relation to the colonial enterprise. Oberkampf’s factory displayed the conditions of production of the transition to what E. P. Thompson calls ‘industrial capitalism’, not only in the changes in techniques of manufacture that demand greater synchronisation of labour and increasing exactitude in time-routines, but also in how these changes are lived through. A ‘factory system’ and a ‘domestic system’ overlap. The works address the complex relations between desire and consumption under capitalism, reconceptualising as the capture and remoulding of desire. Two figures set the boundaries: Rousseau and Robespierre, both present as corpses in some form: the tomb of the former, as an etching derived from a toile de Jouy, and the cadaver of a headless mannequin. The works are conceived as objects with the form of visual literacy. They have material agency. They are seen. They are read. The exhibition includes antiques, trifles, ribbons, silk and lace, déshabillés. It is incroyable and merveilleux.
What are the key themes in your work?
What would you like people to notice in your work?
What attracts you to the mediums you work in?
Odious refinement and hidden violence.
What equipment could you not do without?
I fear that it is my Macbook, and know that is pathetic.
Who or what inspires you?
At the moment, I am ((re)reading Rousseau, which provokes me, and the speeches of Robespierre, which cause me to cheer silently.
How does gender affect your work?
It is my work, or part of it.
What’s your favourite gallery, or place to see or experience art?
I have no favourite place. I see a great deal of art in many places. I do have a fondness for small museums, however.
If you could own one piece of art, what would it be and why?
Though impractical, I would like the six tapestries La dame à la licorne from the musée Cluny or Rodney Graham’ s work of 2003, Rheinmetall/Victoria 8, in which snow falls on a typewriter (actually, I think it is flour, but over the series of static shots, it settles, and the typewriter is a snowy landscape — I feel much of my writing is rather like that). I would be happy to settle for the small painting entitled Les souliers blancs by Eva Gonzalès, a still life painted in 1879/80.
If you could collaborate with one artist, from any time, who would it be, and why?
I would like to speak with the dead. There are, then, many, with whom I would desire to work.
Is there an artist, movement or collective you’d like to see re-evaluated, or a contemporary artist who is underrated?
Almost everyone who is not valued. I have a prefect sense of history.
What’s your favourite colour 🙂
The red that reflects the rouge painted upon their cheeks; the red of the ribbon that mimics the cut of the guillotine.
Contact details & Social media for publication:-