Francesca Mollett, (b. 1991, Bristol) lives and works in London.
Francesca is the recipient of the Aidan Threlfall Award 2020 and will travel to Cornwall and Norfolk with the bursary. Recent exhibitions include A Fish You Have Already Caught, online/London (2020), The Weird and the Eerie, Hockney Gallery, RCA, London (2020), Sympathetic Magic, ZONA MISTA, London (2019) and solo exhibition Keyholes at Brockley Gardens, London (2019). She is half of collaboration ALBA with Ellie Dragone.
Francesca has co-curated a number of shows, including Dust sheet embroidered snow, Project Gallery, Arundel (2019), The Value of Liveliness, White Crypt, London (2018), and Smoke gets in your eye, rural BAES, near Lewes (2018). Francesca co-ran and founded ‘The Benevolent Association of Excellent Solutions’, a set of artist studios and project space in Deptford from 2015 – 2016. She previously graduated from The Drawing Year, Royal Drawing School (2015) and BA Fine Art Painting, Wimbledon College of Arts (2014). Francesca will exhibit in an RCA group show at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery in August 2020.
‘She buried them in liquid ground, I knew I’d find them’. I hope to speak to and with voices that articulate a way of reimagining and reorienting ourselves to inhabit our locality. ‘Liquid ground’ is Luce Irigaray’s primordial soup, shifting and life-giving, that we need to ‘remember’, tread into its swampiness and attune to its potential to find a new subjectivity, entangled between our surroundings and our bodies. I want to consider the gestational in the act of painting: in making a film, I seek to translate entrancement, and make shifting positions of painter and viewer.
Contemporary auto-fiction and streams of consciousness from literature are formative to how I perceive daily reality. Influenced by material feminists, I imagine the human intermingling with the more-than human as I paint, suggestive through corporeal marks, geological textures and meteorological transparencies. An 'embodied hydrocommons': how can I destabilise the boundary between body, water and landscape, begin to 'think with water' as I think with painting? A tiny pool at the bottom of the garden offers a connection to the cosmos, something wild and unruly, full of pollen, dry leaves, blown debris: stir it up, and it darkens, becomes opaque.
I made leaky, supple organism-vessels to pull out from its marshy territories, images that attach to a matriarchal lineage of latex. The motion of luminous qualities of light on these objects, made for virtual content, better articulates my preoccupations with seduction, intimacy and metamorphosis than still pictures. Rather, paintings are lived with subject-objects reacting to day and night.
Making paintings in the garden in lockdown altered levels of pace, control and distance, with light and weather affective like bodily energy. I layer and collage pictorial languages, my own drawings merging with the history of painting. Modernist and Sienese paintings inform my approach with their stylistic inventions that created a particular spatial orientation to a subject. Out of time and yet in time.
I intend for marks to have agency, create their own edges, resist one another using oil and acrylic’s friction to create tense luminous surfaces. I’m absorbed by how paint acts on a surface. An experience of surface can be an experience of recognition, a drive to access inner reality, a place from which to share connective joy.
Size:2 minutes 42 seconds
Divers — Oil and acrylic on calico, 100 x 120cm, 2020
Seams of Marl — Oil and acrylic on calico, 100 x 120cm, 2020
Garden of Mouthings — Oil, acrylic and granite on calico, 120 x 100 cm, 2020
Maiden, Mother, Hag — Oil and acrylic on calico, 120 x 100 cm, 2020
Kiss of seedcake — Oil and acrylic on calico, 100 x 130 cm, 2020
Grotto — Oil and acrylic on calico, 100 x 130 cm, 2020
Solstice, 238 x 178cm, acrylic on calico
I turn to solstice to look for other kinds of knowledge or histories, to feel connected to a communal spirit. The night before, I listen to Silvia Federici’s ‘Witches, Work and Womxn: Revolution from the Kitchen’ and find that in Denmark they still burn ‘witch dolls’ or ‘hexes’ on the bonfire around midsummer, partake in witch-burning; the erasure of female knowledges and powers, a strategy for capitalism; the taking of common land.
When it gets dark over that weekend, I watch the daylight horror ‘Midsommar’ over three evenings on my own, breaking up its power to disturb. Dani (in Midsommar) screams, and her grief is shouted back towards her, with her. She is noticed, held by many arms, her emotion becomes experienced as the collective emotion, a moment of healing in the tearing of everything else.
A few days later, we suspend the painting from the house. The painting appears to shift in its materiality. It has the potential to bring us together, but as the material becomes lighter, words make me heavy. Small stones attach to wire, gaffa-taped to pebbles - wind round the string and hold onto it. Distance between basement, road, window, leads to gaps, tense calls, the painting halfway between us.
Medium:Acrylic on calico
Size:238 x 178cm
V!O LLL . . A and YZ — Installation shot
Medium:V!OLLL..A Acrylic paint, dust sheets, silk, canvas and cotton / YZ Found fabrics and acrylic paint on calico
Size:V: 280cm (w) x 235cm (h), YZ: 305 (w) x 340cm (h)
To be installed
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 within which to present our artwork, 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.