Jamie Fitzpatrick talks to Susie Pentelow about his upcoming solo exhibition ‘(loudly) chomp, chomp, chomp’ at VITRINE, Bermondsey.
The space you will be working in is quite unique - a sixteen-meter vitrine on a public square. How will you be approaching this?
The way that VITRINE is shaped creates this very limited single viewpoint that forces everything to be viewed straight on. This limitation on the viewer’s ability to view the work put me in mind of the relationship between the audience and a stage. By the time I started planning for the show, I had been looking to build more theatrical elements into the install of the work so by thinking of the space in terms of a theatre, I’ve approached the exhibition as essentially a stage on which the sculptures will act.
Your work spans sculpture, painting, installation, spoken word, and sound. What can we expect from your upcoming solo exhibition at VITRINE?
The work focuses on a play for three parts that will act as the backdrop of the stage so to speak. There will be sculptures in the space that will, hopefully, move and act out the play so to speak in a loop throughout the show.
Your work questions what it means for something to have been made and positioned in a way so that the viewer is subordinate to it. Do you think this is inherent in artwork in general?
Not really, I think that most work is begging to be looked at. Mine included. What I’m interested in the visual rhetoric that is used in works, particularly in the public space, that have been made solely as social signifiers. What I find really interesting is the way in which these additions to the urban landscape are, for the most part, ignored and their historical context has lost most of its immediacy. So, within the context of the city, this statue no longer is a monument to such-and-such a historical figure, but instead, functions as a collection of visual symbols that maintain this sense of social privilege.
There will be a motorized aspect to this body of work. Is this something you have explored before?
Yes, many of the last few works have to greater and lesser degrees that have incorporated some element of movement into the sculptures. A lot of my intentions in showing the sculptures is to undermine the arrogance of permanence often expected in figurative work. One of the ways that I do this is to make them move and twitch sporadically to destroy that sense of the solid and timeless. In the past, I’ve had pieces burst into singing Elvis, one in which a stick would twizzle about in circles, some spit water over each other and a recent piece in which a group of works sang a three-part karaoke of the final overtures from jingoistic films.
What else does 2016 have in store for you?
It’s been a busy last few months so I think that there is going to be a short period of calm over the February. I’m really lucky in that I was awarded a Studio Prize through the Royal College of Art which I will have until the end of July so I want to make sure that I make the most of that. At the moment, there are some shows in the pipeline that have come off the back of recent shows like New Contemporaries at the ICA and the Saatchi Gallery but, at the moment, they have yet to be finalized.
‘(loudly) chomp, chomp, chomp’ opens on Tuesday 2 February and runs until 9 April at VITRINE, Bermondsey. For more information, visit http://www.vitrinegallery.co.uk.
To find out more about Jamie Fitzpatrick’s work, visit http://jamiefitzpatrick.co.uk.