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Culture Bites: Sculpture artist shares veg-spiration

Culture Bites: Sculpture artist shares veg-spiration

Wednesday 19 June 2019

Culture Bites: Sculpture artist shares veg-spiration


A Jersey artist, whose clever sculptures exist somewhere between 2D and 3D, has shared the secrets of her work, and the things currently inspiring her - from whacky music videos to veg-shaped crockery.

Currently living and working in Hamburg, Lulu MacDonald was recently back in the island as one of ArtHouse Jersey’s Artist in Residence.

She uses different types of wall finishings including wallpapering and plastering to create ornamental sculptures, which probe where flatness ends and the sculptural begins.

Lulu also excavates image artefacts from artists' homes – their clothes, pieces of furniture and personal belongings - re-imagining what it would be like to intrude on and inhabit this landscape and re-evaluating how far these artist's objects become art objects and back again - be it a sculpture belonging to Oskar Schlemmer, or a painted coat from Giuseppe Arcimboldo.

Her works ask how artists can be influenced via the political, the social and through memory in ways that contravene, dissect and interrupt our image saturated world. Amidst a climate catastrophe, the works challenge notions of nature and the (un)safety it offers – acknowledging our own reliance on nurture, kindness and the gestural.

Now living and working in Hamburg, Lulu came back to Jersey earlier this month as part of Arthouse's artist residency programme. 

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Pictured: Lulu's work at the Being Human exhibition.

Whilst in the island, she researched spaces occupied by the German soldiers in the second World War and their new present-day reincarnation. As someone who grew up on the island, she revisited these spaces in a new context of speaking German and living in Germany to inform a new body of work.  

For Express, she also wrote about the things that inspired her during her stay...

1. Highlands College Student Art Exhibitions

Well, this is a must see. I went to Highlands College when I was 16 to do my BTEC. It was the best decision I ever made. I know I wouldn't be where I am today without the strong foundations that were nurtured by all the amazing tutors there. I couldn't afford to do a foundation and a degree at the time, so it was a great way for me to try all different parts of art before ultimately deciding to study Fine Art in London.

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Pictured: Work by Monica Carvalho, extended Diploma in Art& Design, progressing on to do a BA Hons in Illustration at Bristol.

The Level 2 + 3 student show is on from 11 June till 14 June and then the UAL students 1st year and foundation show opens on the 25 showing until the 28 June. If you are thinking about studying art full time, or if you can't get off the island for further education, Highlands is an inspiring place to begin channelling creativity and challenging your previous notions of what art is. 

2. The Butterfly House at Durrell

I see SO much art I am slowly becoming numb to fake atmospheres. Even when there’s an exhibition I want to visit, I often feel that I have already seen about 1,000 images of it on Instagram before I even arrive. But MAN, this place literally ripped the carpet from beneath me.

Jersey Zoo Butterfly House

Pictured: The Butterfly House opened last October at the Zoo.

As I pushed open the doors, which had beautiful laser-cut butterfly handles, and wafted through the copper chains, the mist blocked my view for just long enough to think I had died and gone to heaven. As the pearl water drops settled, butterflies flew in every direction through the cascading plants.

It's probably the same vibe they wanted for the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. It makes you think about the fragility of life, the speed of life, how delicate it is and how strange it is. Go there and experience it! 

3. Charity shop shopping

One activity which I always am sure to do in Jersey is visit all of the charity shops. I feel that these places always give you a great sense of a place’s culture by what ends up in them. The islanders are generous, and a few live a relatively plentiful life.

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Pictured: A selection of Lulu's vegetable crockery. 

You find all sorts in the shops - it's where my love of vegetable crockery began, way back when in 2007 when I found my first lettuce leaf gravy boat. There are always fantastic accidental compositions and still-life set ups by (I assume!) the volunteers, which are so eclectic due to the different tastes from those who have donated. It's like going to an open call group show!

4. Venice Biennale

The Venice Biennale is one of the most important events in contemporary Art - a bit like the world cup but for art. This time round it’s called 'May You Live In Interesting Times'. I will be going in September and cannot wait. I am particularly looking forward to the Arsenale which is where the group show is held.

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Pictured: Art by Anthea Hamilton, photographed at the Arsenal during the 58th International Art Exhibition on 7 May 2019. (Luca Zanon/Awakening/Getty)

Some of my favorite artists will be showing including; Anthea Hamilton, Jesse Darling, Nairy Baghramian, Alexandra Bircken, Haris Epaminonda, Zhanna Kadyrova and Maria Loboda.

You need a few days, a great Air BnB, patience and lots of water. But I am really intrigued by what I have read so far from the biennale. So, it’s worth a visit. Hot tip, if you can get the train there, there is nothing quite like it. 

5. Aldous Harding – Music Video 'The Barrel'

This is just the most amazing video I have ever seen. It is meditative to watch, a smile at despair. I now know it so well.

Video: Lulu admits having become slightly obsessed with this infectious music video.

It’s like going to a fancy dress party at Kerry-Jane Warner’s house – all the right kinds of weird. There is this infectious, shameless joy and a creeping sense of unease. It has plenty of fabulous references, to name just a few: 1970s film The Holy Mountain, Ziggy Stardust and The Amish!

Watch it now. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of the Bailiwick Express.

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