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Associate Studio Programme 5 : Louise Ashcroft

How can a ‘Fishmongers Shop’, ‘Gibraltar’, and ‘A Procession Passing Through The Cenotaph’ answer questions of how to prepare for a residency in cooking and feminist practices? How can ‘Game Keepers’, ‘System D’ and ‘The Bees’ allow us to offer up methods of altering the way that we work, in order to build sustainable practices in which not-knowing, intuition and failure allow for real experimentation?
Equipped with a small box of over a hundred hand written cards, Louise Ashcroft entered the studio animated and vibrant, eager to begin untangling the questions within our practices which mark themselves as delicate and difficult to navigate. Unveiling the cards which had previously been used in one of her performances, Louise presented her chosen tool as an aid to begin both practically and conceptually offering up solutions to the difficulties we encounter when making work.
Her small box of cards assumed the position of a Tarot, providing advice, solutions or reflections in the form of written statements such as ‘Camouflage’, ‘A Shelf-Like Object’, ‘The West Window of Saint George’s Chapel’, ‘A Chimney’, ‘A Pen’, ‘A Logo’. These statements pulled at random three, sometimes four at a time, aimed to propose a starting point in attempting to unpick the dilemmas or queries each of us took in turn to present to the cards. Assorted objects, locations, and substances provided a heterogeneous network of possibilities in which practical questions of documentation and medium, as well as intimate and entangled anecdotes of experience could be opened up and discussed in equal measure.
This exercise in inquiry not only produced a series of outcomes or possibilities to each contribution, but also established the significance and potential of a generous support network which community, and more specifically the studio, provides. Louise Ashcroft spoke little of her own practice, favouring instead to use her work as a tool to be used by us when thinking through our own art making. It is clear that Louise is committed to building significant and long lasting art communities which provide generosity and support, an ethos which is exemplified through ‘Into the Wild’, a free artist development programme which Louise leads through Chisenhale Studios, as well as ‘Unperforming’, a performance event run by Louise and based at Toynbee Studio, Arts Admin, built to support and provide a platform for experimental performance artists at the beginning of their career. Jess Heritage.

Notes have been disabled.