|Helen Marten, winner of the inaugural Hepworth prize for sculpture, with her work at The Hepworth Wakefield gallery in West Yorkshire. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA|
I enjoyed this recent article bby Charlotte Higgins about Helen Marten, this year's Turner Prize winner.
I particularly liked her description of how she works from reading and ideas. Here is a quotation from the article:
'Her starting point, she tells me, is reading. “Before I touch anything in the studio, before I do anything tangible or physical, I spend three or four months reading and researching, but not with a specific end goal in mind. It could be fiction, theory, news, philosophy. I read a lot of poetry. The primary impulse more often than not is linguistic.”
Recently she has been excited by Iconography and Electronics Upon a Generic Architecture, by postmodern architect Robert Venturi (“a vitriolic architectural postmodern thesis versus an amazing impulse for collecting and gathering weird archaeological facts”); and an essay by artist David Robbins on “the gaze in television, and the Lacanian idea of empathy”. Then, she says, “I store up phrases, a bank of words that are the starting point for thinking about an accumulation of physical stuff.”
The “physical stuff” comes next: first by a precise drawing and mapping of each of her works, for which a great deal of fabrication will be required. She works with ceramicists, metalworkers, carpenters, embroiderers and others to create the components of the sculptures, which she will assemble in the studio. Nothing is left to chance. “I don’t shop for things. I know what it is I am searching for,” she says. “Almost nothing is a readymade. If it looks like it is, it’s almost certainly a deliberate approximation.” '