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ABOUT

Hannah Clarkson is a visual artist and writer with an interest in languages of empathy as embodied in sculpture, costume and performance. With a BFA from Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University (2013) and an MFA from Konstfack, Stockholm (2017), she is currently a practice-based PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art, London (2021-2025). Alongside an active art and writing practice, she teaches creative writing for post-graduate students at Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm.

 

"My practice is very process-led, emerges out of repetitive processes and a sense of play through materials which allows a deeper, more tactile level of thought in a subconscious conceptualising of my work through what I create, see, read and write, enabled by the very process of making. I begin making often from a flat sheet of material, whether paper, metal or even roofing felt, and poetic narratives and volume are raised from there. This can result in pleated or folded sculptures, for example, or in a series of texts to be performed aloud so that the sculptures act as a kind of stage set, or even, in the viewers’ imagination, as costumes or dwelling spaces inside which one can imagine oneself. The work thus inhabits a transitional space which allows narrative to creep in, to be simultaneously explicit and ambiguous, particular and multiple.

"In my recent works, roofing felt used as sculptural material takes on new meaning as skin and shelter, container and architecture, body and surface. Body becomes building and building becomes body. Something strange happens in perception of volume in these folded forms, keeping the viewer at a distance yet inviting them inside, connoting both home and banishment by the material’s intended use as waterproofing for the garden shed or industrial building. It is a protective skin, yet abrasive to the touch of human skin. It is alluring and at a distance looks soft, yet scratches layers off my fingers as I work with it. Metal, another of my favourite materials, also connotes skin/shelter as armour/protective plate, portable architecture worn on the body. There is a violent paradox in roofing felt or metal used as clothing: both armour/protection & weapon/assailant. The bodily effort of creating these skins/shelters is considerable: muscles ache, the material is heavy, it scratches my skin, makes holes in my fingers. It is a kind of wrestling match, where fine craft skills of the fashion atelier/artist’s studio & heavy labour of the building site are combined.”

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