Lives and works in London.
BA Photography, Camberwell College of Arts, 2013
Foundation in Art & Design, Central Saint Martins, 2010
Current and upcoming exhibitions
Current: Situationist RCA. See www.situationistrca.com for details
Current: Careless Limbs. ARC 2020: The Dirty Issue, online publication
Upcoming: TOUCH ME, curated by Veronika Neukirch. Online exhibition
Tove & Melton & Lisa & Gareth & Charles & &c. Jonathan Hopson, Houston, Texas
Today it rained on my paper mache, but it was ok. Visual Arts Center, Austin, Texas
Work-in-progress Show. Royal College of Art, London
Brexhibition (in collaboration with Sophie Kemp). Royal College of Art, London
Whispering Colour, curated by Jemma Hickman. bo.lee gallery, London
Low Entertainment, curated by Alice Woodhouse and Beckie Cove. Arch 5, Hackney
Coventry Biennial, curated by Ryan Hughes. Meter Room Project Space, Coventry
Art the Arms Fair, SET Space, London
Eden, curated by Katie Hodson. Participate Contemporary Artspace, Shrewsbury
Rooftop installation. Ugly Duck, London
Platform Projects. The Affordable Art Fair, Hampstead, London
Platform Projects. The Affordable Art Fair, Battersea, London
ESP Useful Editions, Production Show. Eastside Projects, Birmingham
Mass and Momentum. South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell
ESP Summer Camp. Eastside Projects, Birmingham
Where's the Art? Contemporary Arts Research Unit, Modern Art Oxford
Bournemouth Emerging Art Fringe. Bournemouth
Over and Out. Imperial Works, London
Residencies/ talks/ awards
UT<> RCA Exchange: Studio Art MFA, University of Texas at Austin
KEL Trust Scholarship
Visiting lecturer at the University of Leeds
Artist Talk, Meter Room Studios and Project Space, Coventry Biennial
Artist talk, Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum
ESP Summer Camp residency, Eastside Projects
Bursary award, Mindfulness and Performance, University of Huddersfield
Artist in Residence at Leamington Arts & Music Project
Research and Development commission with Birmingham Camera Obscura
Bursary award, Gregynog Ideas Lab IV, Tregynon, Wales
My work is situation-specific, responding to the sincerity of objects and places, and the social boundaries that surround them. It takes up space with varying convictions about doing so, from spelling out words in the lightest material I could think of, to dramatically collapsing with the volume turned up. The interplay between humour and language is an important component to my process, which often draws on double entendre, in which one meaning will relate to current popular discourse. Through such devices, I seek to negate the expected response in favour of a multitude of interpretations that shy from being agreed upon, while retaining a naive blatancy.
I am interested in the role that provocation and satire have played historically towards social progress, and how this is reversed when those in power learn to weaponise foolishness themselves. In an era in which this is often used as a political device, I have become interested in the historic role of the fool, and how his footing between humour and power correlates with artists and their ability to simultaneously entertain and manipulate.
I have recently been replicating everyday objects at a larger-than-life scale, working intuitively with materials such as paper mache to inflate, deflate and shine a light on the things that we do and don’t laugh at in everyday life. These relate to the body, and can be seen buckling, dancing or collapsing with embarrassment.
Many of my sculptures can be found in unexpected spaces, or are unexpected sculptures to find in traditional gallery spaces, to which the surrounding social dynamic is often key to the work and its intention to bemuse. This is central to my collaborative sculptural practice with Sophie Kemp, whereby we each make a version of a similar object found in public spaces, either symbolically or in form, which we then activate in public. The outcomes embrace absurdity through the lenses of our respective practices, posing themselves as important as the accepted public interventions that they mimic.
Please check back to this page for future streams.
Past live streams will be archived to the respective Twitch channels.
Please click the Twitch handles ‘sophiegracekemp’ and ‘dollykershaw’ to navigate to these.
Please see the Situationist RCA section below for information about events in relation to this work.
This is the most recent of several collaborations between myself and Sophie Kemp. We make companion pieces at a distance and reveal them to one another on completion, and then discuss documentation. In this work our sculptures are physically animated and live streamed intermittently, potentially coinciding with each other, or not. These reference our interests in objects and aesthetics that engage in systems of public control and distancing and the shonky material language of the model or replica is used to satirise and interrogate these forms. Intermittent live streaming, the chance that these works may coincide but may not, foregrounds the importance of the encounter and the moment of connection. The language of signs and signals is finding new, vital, importance in this historic, multifaceted global crisis, re-asserting itself and its authority in a context of civil discontent. The live event shown in a browser screen highlights the function of the digital as a sublime communication form which changes how we consume connectedness, both supplying connectivity between disparate parties while insisting on their physical separation. The usual usage of the live-stream as a medium is subverted by the Signals being both spectacular and anti-climactic, referencing the unpredictable, unruly and unannounced nature of sirens and buoys.
Medium:Two simultaneous digital live streams
Video credit: Kristin Lucas
Image credit: Matthew Cronin
Medium:Ripstop nylon, bin liners, fans
Medium:Pack of insulation fibre, paint
Size:60 x 40 x 25 cm
Image credit: Matthew Cronin
Medium:Ink jet print, crayons
Size:90 x 400 cm
Medium:Plaster, newspaper, glue, chicken wire, cardboard, hessian, filler
Size:Each mug approx 120 x 80 x 80 cm
Image credit: Matthew Cronin
Medium:Plywood, paint, tent pegs
Medium:84 custom sketchbooks
Both this work and ‘Barriers’ were made as collaborations with Sophie Kemp at transnational distance whilst I was on exchange at The University of Texas, Austin and she at RCA, London. Our responses are monuments to the child-like word/object associations that might normally only take place beneath a work, becoming a necessarily visible bridge in the site of collaboration between two individual practices. Both are inspired by the act of forming a community through collective efforts and sharing of resources to challenge structures. The work began when I told Sophie about a street protest I had seen just outside La Paz, Bolivia in 2015. Indigenous communities had blocked the roads with cement pipes, and I referred to them as ‘hula hoops’, as in the crisps. This association of how food operates as a communal experience opened up a conversation about the aesthetic language of protest, specifically the use of circular or cyclical forms as something which could be played with or animated.
We embraced and enforced the restriction of being unable to see what the other was making, and the work developed into duo-sculptures. Our interest in play as a site of subterfuge and resistance enabled large scale replicas of party rings to be made as appropriate companion pieces to a cement pipe replica. We both chose to activate and film our sculptures within our respective institutions; the party rings were released into a public stairway used by students and staff in the RCA Kensington building, and the cement pipe was rolled out of the site at which it had been built in the Department of Art at UT, caught on mock-CCTV, where it eventually collapsed under its own weight. In doing so, we aimed to reference and critique the structural favouring of rigid utility over play in art institutions, and re-assert the role of community within these spaces.
Medium:Sculptures: Party Rings: paint, papier-mâché, polystyrene. Pip: cement, cardboard, hessian, newspaper, glue, Digital films
Size:Sculptures: Party rings: dimensions variable, each ring 60cm x 5cm approx Pip: 130 x 100cm approx. Digital films: 22 secs, 1min 31 secs
Archway (side view)
Archway (front view)
My barrier resembled the original photograph of our starting point. I purposefully created it to be structurally unsound, stapling repurposed timber together which was balanced on sewage pipes. This was then papier-mâché’d and coated in cement. As with Sophie’s barrier, the legs added to the work’s bodily personality. This contributed to the titling of the work as ‘Barry’, who could not withstand the wind and its own imbalance, and collapsed loudly in the road with slapstick effect. Despite this, cars still respected the barrier’s authority, veering around it as they departed the UT campus.
Sophie’s barrier was elevated above a walkway in the Sculpture studios at RCA, creating a theatrical promenade that made visible the architecture of the space and referencing historical and contemporary dialogues about the studio as a site of art creation with complex and contested purposes. Constructed from fabric inner tubes, gyproc and a silver thermal vapour barrier, languages of support, protection and obfuscation were used to humorously underline its now inverted function as point of spectacle and convocation.
Our interests in the contested spaces of art-making are put into parallel with concerns relating to working in the public sphere. Our positioning of playful works which engage the structures of institutions (architecture and space) is used to explore their rigidity and capacities for fostering open, porous boundaries, as we feel the ethics of responsibility and accessibility necessarily come into play in this context.
Medium:Sculpture: Cardboard, wood, polystyrene, chickenwire, gyproc, cardboard tubes, hessian, concrete, emulsion paint, vapour barrier, tape, Film: Digital film
Size:Sculpture: 240cm x 180cm x 70cm approx, Digital film: 1min 59 secs
Event timings on website.
Situationist RCA is a physical, pan-continental, temporary, see-it-in-the-flesh, blink-and-you’ll miss-it network of events, happenings and installations that will run during the course of RCA 2020.
Without our regular degree show interiors to adorn our artwork with, you will be able to find us outside, in the parks, alleyways and skies of both London and beyond, the boundaries of our physical presence scattered globally.
The programme is loose, amorphous and active and can be viewed on our constantly updated website.