LONDON, 5–12 August 2019: Studio 73 (Brixton): 'Languages of Medium'

I am pleased to be a ‘Takeover Artist’ at Studio 73 in the vibrant, cosmopolitan neighbourhood of Brixton Village from the 5th to the 12th of August, 2019. Entitling my pop-up exhibition ‘Languages of Medium,’ I will be showcasing recent and developing works in printmaking that use language and text as a material basis of poetic play. Below is a Q&A with the South West London–based gallery. Please see more information here. –G.D.

What is your background?

I grew up in New Jersey, just outside New York City, and I used to live and work in Philadelphia for some years before moving to London a year ago to start working internationally. I had careers in publishing (in editorial for books and magazines) and then arts administration, and I ran a creative group called Symbiosis (2012–2016) that was both a publication and curatorial platform for collaborations between artists and writers. Now I'm doing an MFA degree at Goldsmiths. 

How do you get inspiration?
I pay attention to artists who incorporate text into their work or think through language. I read lots of different writers and poets. I get excited about writers or text-based artists who think about the materiality of printed language and form; this also intersects with linguistic and grammatical concerns around syntax. I love listening to live jazz (especially with sax!) to encourage experimentation and improvisation when I’m composing stuff myself. 

I’ve been revisiting work by William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, and some of the other Beats recently, especially with fold-ins and cut-ups. Among more contemporary circles, I’ve been interested in what Erica Baum has been doing with dog-earring book pages and poet Derek Beaulieu has been doing with concrete poetry and experimental novels. Here in London, I enjoy following who’s making stuff with Book Works and a variety of experimental and independent publishers that descend upon art or indie book fairs. Some treasure troves: Siglio PressUgly Duckling PresseBroken Dimanche Press, and of course UbuWeb.

What would you really like to do with your art?

It’s always changing, and I’m working more and more across media and disciplines. Installations have become my jam since installations are inclusive of all the media and disciplines you can work in. Right now, I say I’m making contemporary art influenced by architecture, language and literature, semiotics, and philosophy. I’m constantly collaging; paper and glue are at my service. I'm going to try working more with sound and spoken word next.

Why do you want to show at Studio 73?

I thought Studio 73 was the coolest gallery when I discovered it! It’s local to Brixton, but there’s something strongly global about that — ‘glocal’ as some people like to call it — with everyone and all the shops in Brixton Village coming from different pockets of the world. I feel comfortable here, welcomed. And I love creating things that engage the public and show the power of art, especially work that can speak to many kinds of people. It’s been a great starting point for my international, cross-cultural adventure as an artist, with so much vibrancy inside Studio 73 and just outside it. 

I’ve been leading ‘Creative Writing through Art’ workshops at Studio 73, and it’s been super fun to meet local Brixton writers and use the artists’ prints in the shop to stimulate new thinking and writing. One writer is coming all the way from Argentina to attend a workshop later in August! 

Gina DeCagna