Artist Jenny Pope is currently researching the working conditions and materials used in many of Portobello's industries, culminating in an installation inside one of the kilns for 2020.
As part of Jenny's ongoing research, during AWP19 she created a temporary sculptural installation along Portobello Promenade that built on the histories once surrounding this area dating from 1800, particularly the local Prussian blue works at the time. Jenny constructed a series of sculptures reflecting the rich but deadly and pollutant local colours: Prussian blue, blood red, mustard and white lead, and highlighting continued human environmental impact. Read all about the deadly colours and Jenny's other research in the event newspaper.
Artist Talk & Visit to kilns
Jenny Pope is a visual artist producing a range of work from small delicate objects to large-scale sculptural pieces. She is intrigued by the physicality of materials, making processes and the meaning of objects.
At the core of her working practice is experimentation with the limits and possibilities of materials such as porcelain, components of concrete, felt and paper. Through a process of research and serendipitous play into their physicality, structure and fragility she responds to the tactile viscous immediacy embodied in the substances. Her pieces are an exploration of the experience of mindfulness. She use the analogy of weathering of objects to suggest the uncertainty and changes we all face as human beings, as Robert Macfarlane describes ‘the appalling transience of the human body’. She explores ways to convey a continual attempt to be in the present moment in a world fuelled by busyness. Walking along the fluctuating and permeable edge of the seashore, she uses discovering objects at the tide line as both a meditative activity and practical taxonomy of found relics. By selecting and responding to the man-made fragments, she draws awareness to remnants of information, patterns of indents, holes and the repetitive worn surfaces from an object being used. Like artists Mark Dion and Robert Callender, her exploration also suggests links between archeology, taxonomy although she also examines the intuitive/primitive use of found objects as contemporary worry beads. One recent focus has been towards making objects in response to finding old bones, observing how the original functional orthopaedic structures have been altered by immense force of oceanic erosion. She highlights the commonality of calciferous constituents of bones with large-scale limestone rock structures also with dynamic water flow marks; wind eroded edges and minimal surface tension. Her current line of research leads towards the edge of textiles, creating personal sculptural spaces in response to the tension between comfortable containment and restraint. George Elliot’s idea of the ‘unmapped country within us‘ is drawn on navigational maps of the sea in an external embodiment of place.