Our next In The Studio focuses on the work of MA Fine Art student Angela Edwards, from London, who talks to us about her experience of Chelsea, a day before her final piece goes on display in the MA Summer Show.
Describe your experience at Chelsea in 3 words
Challenging, thought-provoking, creative.
Please tell us about your work over the last year
I came to Chelsea as a multi-media artist who always worked with paintings, performance, and sculpture. I extended my practice using ceramics, metal work in the 3D workshops and Chelsea’s audio visual suite for sound art and projection installations. I could develop these aspects of my work with support and facilities I have not had before studying at Chelsea.
My work is still concerned with themes of death, psycho-sexuality, ritual, the body in flux or decay, I guess, because I am obsessed with these things. These are subjects questioning our universal existence, which have always fascinated me. So I continue to explore these aspects within my ongoing work.
Please tell us about your work for the final show
I am working a large immersive installation for the entrance room of the university. The installation will include a needlework tomb structure at one side with a large life-size metal corpse sculpture with bronze face. The sculpture will contain plants that are poisonous and associated with traditional witchcraft or used in shamanic ritual also. Above this structure will be two large projection/sound installations: one on top and one behind the metal sculpture lighting the piece with a type of visceral surrealist film of the landscape of human insides, sexual imagery and biology cells.
This will have the sound of female orgasm over the top of it and abstracted to make an original immersive sound art piece. Above this work will be a life-size naked androgynous corpse body with the head covered in red projection, linked visually to art by to traditional Dutch Masters such as Holbein’s dead Christ and referencing themes of death/universal being.
This will be projected over approx. 100 crystal rocks suspended from the ceiling. Beside this work, on the other side of the space, I will have a painting and two meter abstract ceramic floor installation.
What was your greatest challenge in working towards the degree show?
It is always a challenge to push yourself and your art on a budget with such a short timeframe. I go to major art galleries regularly and I always want to make work that people could say “I could see this at Hauser and Wirth, The White Cube, Sadie Cole’s, Blain and Southern, Maureen Paley, PACE, Victoria Miro or Lisson Gallery”.
I have to aspire to that level but it’s hard on a budget when these exhibitions you see have so much money and resources fed into them. So I want to make strong work that is on that level but I have to use my imagination and realise all my art on a shoestring budget, making it the cheapest way possible by stretching my resources. So for the degree show I wanted to make strong, large-scale work I was proud of to this level with all these factors impacting upon it.
What do you see yourself doing after you graduate, what are your career ambitions?
I will continue creating art no matter what. I will continue my research into my current themes in more depth and develop my artistic output. I will continue to make art for myself that firstly interests me and hope that others like it. My career ambitions are to sustain my living expenses and practice through art.
To have enough money to afford art materials to create the work I wish to make and continue to be inspired. Ideally I would love to exhibit at a major gallery with support and in museums in the future. But for now I would be happy to just earn a living realistically from my Art.
What have you enjoyed most about studying at Chelsea?
I have especially enjoyed the series of theoretical lectures Chelsea MA Fine Art students visit at the ICA and also our theory forums. For these we were visited by a vast range of academic speakers from anthropological, scientific, technological, political and philosophical backgrounds. What I liked most about these lectures was that although on the surface the speakers sometimes were not directly linked to artistic practice, they linked all these themes to art.
You started to realize art is connected to all these things and often it is as important as a practitioner conceptually linking thought processes to your work or ideologies, as much as the making. These lectures were really interesting and made you question and think about a lot of things in regards to your practice that you wouldn’t have considered otherwise.
What have you most enjoyed about the area around Chelsea? Any tips?
There are lots of museums and art galleries to visit, obviously, and beautiful scenery. For a fun night out I recommend the Vauxhall Tavern that has lots of drag or queer ‘out there’ performances for a cheap entry price. It’s very down to earth and an iconic bar in gay culture.
Also, in Notting Hill, the Tiroler Hut is an underground German bar with huge beers – so kitsch, all the staff wear lederhosen and there’s singing but things like New York New York, it’s totally surreal. The owner is an older Austrian guy who plays the bells and was on Britain’s Got Talent. You look up and there are faded photos of Hugh Grant, Sadie Cole, Vivienne Westwood and Kate Moss on their wall from the nineties.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing your course? Any advice?
Go for it. You will feel frustrated at times but it will all work out in the end and being challenged is part of what the course is about. If you are an artist who wishes to develop their art to the next level then it’s well worth doing.
See more of Angela’s and others’ work in the MA Summer Show on www.chelseadegreeshow.com
Read more about studying MA Fine Art at Chelsea
Visit our MA Summer Show