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Jarman Award Shortlist Artist Profile: Gail Pickering

Date posted: 26.11.2015

In the last of our weekly series of shortlisted artist profiles, Gail Pickering discusses her use of time-based media as a means of exploring ideas of time and presence as well as the formative influence seeing Jarman's work for the first time had on her own career.

Watch the full interview:

About the Artist

Gail Pickering's work in moving image, performance and installation explores the malleability of time and presence, reflecting on our fragmentary relationship to history and society. Pickering develops multi-layered montages from a range of sources which are variously staged and rewritten through mimicry, polyphony and voice, ultimately addressing how we encounter images through, and despite of, the medium of the screen.

Near Real Time

'An overriding concern of the work has been a consideration of time and presence.'

Pickering's most recent work, the three-channel video installation Near Real Time, premiered at BALTIC Centre of Contemporary Art in 2014. Intrinsically circular and episodic in form, the work reflects on our contemporary relationship with images, seen through the historical prism of a pioneering community television project. Their last surviving taped broadcasts provide the starting point for Pickering's portrayal of a collective imagination and the ways in which it crystallised a relationship to camera.

The depicted characters seem adrift as they mouth a shared monologue, looking to understand their status as images in situations that appear mutable and plastic. In timeless staging or re-imaginings of fragments, forms reproduce themselves and wander from scene to scene. A hanging lab coat becomes a white sheet, a costume, a ghost, a grotesque sculpture of a leg. The voiceover describes focus, volume and light, as if to understand its own mediated appearance in an emphatic present.

Jarman's Influence
Reflecting on her own personal relationship with Jarman's work, Pickering recalls encountering his films for the first time as a teenager courtesy of late night television.

'Perverse, joyous... kind of insane - I'd never seen anything like it before' Pickering recalls, citing the spirit of Jarman's films as a key influence in her decision to go to art school. 'It was (Jubilee) amongst a few other films, that led me to the decision that I needed to go to art school and leave where I was.'

The 2015 Film London Jarman Award will be presented on Monday 30 November at Whitechapel Gallery.

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