2011 - 12: Lucy Cash
Central Foundation School for Girls,
Lucy Cash is an artist whose work takes different forms - moving image works, photography, performance and writing. From a background in movement and performance her work often gives attention to subtle choreographies that underpin the everyday. She is drawn to beginning with the extraordinary appearance of ordinary things – things that are already in the world, and that invite small interventions between the poetic and scientific, philosophical and humorous, intimate and political. Both her work, as well as her approach to making, draw on associative thought processes - making connections between the everyday and the esoteric.
Lucy worked with the Year 10 Art Photography BTEC group and teacher and artist Ellie Green www.eleanorgreen.com, who works as part of a collective www.wearevv.wordpress.com with fellow artist Bex Massey www.bexmassey.com.
Having considered some performative approaches to photography in the Autumn term, Lucy began exploring the neighbourhood surrounding the School. Using strategies such as, creating scores to perform, eg ‘Find Five Strangers and Ask Them A Question’, Lucy worked one-on-one with several students to realise projects that involved being curious or taking a risk and that extended the imaginative focus of art-making into everyday life. Simultaneously the class looked at different kinds of maps – not just geographical, but also maps of emotions, and thoughts; maps about time as well as place. Underlying all this work was an emphasis on collaboration and a continuing exploration of the Foundation AIR Artist Collective that was initiated as an experimental group identity for the class in the autumn term.
During the timespan of the residency, the school has been undergoing redevelopment, and a hoarding separates the school playground from the new building. Ellie Green, and Access and Inclusion teacher Anne-Belles Esteves, introduced the class to the photographer and street artist JR’s work. Inspired by his work creating portraits with ‘invisible’ communities, the group re-considered their resistance to creating portraits of themselves and with input from Lucy created twenty, large scale portraits, one of each member of the collective including Lucy, Anne-Belle and Ellie. Curious to emphasize scale and to play with both visibility and anonymity, each portrait showed only the individual’s eyes. The images were printed as A0 size photographic posters and with an inspiring amount of focus and co-operation; the class installed them on the hoardings during one intense fly-posting session. Producing the series of images, My Body Folded Like A Map, and taking hold of public space in this way was a bold and provocative experiment for the Foundation AIR Collective. As a gesture, it elicited a wide range of comments from both peers and school staff. Responses ranged from the puzzled, “Are those students from our school?” to the impressed, “They all look so strong and beautiful”, to the fearful and critical, “I feel like I’m being watched” and ‘Some of those eyebrows need shaping.”. Just as the images sit between one physical space and another, so do they inhabit an interesting territory between documentary and abstraction. Whilst the photographs capture the unenhanced gaze of each person in the moment of encounter with the camera; as a collection of eyes, separated from faces, they also inhabit a slightly dream-like territory, emphasizing the extraordinary nature of what it is to look and to be looked at. As art historian James Elkins once wrote, "No matter how hard we look, we see very little of what we look at."
Ellie Green commented "Working with the Whitechapel, and with artist Lucy Cash, has been a fantastic opportunity for students to meet and work with an artist within industry. Lucy was able to work with individual students to extend their learning beyond the classroom and out into the community. For the students there has been a huge leap in terms of their self esteem, and the nurturing of their individual creative strengths through the course of this project. This was really noticeable in the celebration event where they felt confident to interact with other adults, partake in discussions about creativity and explain their work to others. "
Artists in Residence Exhibition 15 December 2012 – 10 March 2013
To view The Making of: My Body Folded Like a Map 2012 click here http://www.recreativeuk.com/resource/lucy-cash-schools-residency-whitechapel-gallery
Artist Lucy Cash, teacher Ellie Green, curator Annabel Johnson and students from Central Foundation Girls’ School discuss the research and production of My Body Folded Like a Map
This film is made by REcreativeUK.com, an online community and resource for young people interested in contemporary art. The site was devised by a group of young people as a platform to share and showcase their own work and to offer behind-the-scenes access and information about the art world. It was created as part of the Louis Vuitton Young Arts Project.
The Louis Vuitton Young Arts Projects is an arts and education initiative led by the South London Gallery in partnership with Tate, the Hayward Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts and the Whitechapel Gallery.
Filmed and edited by Gordon Beswick