LEADING CULTURE DESTINATIONS (TBA):
CHARLOTTE COLBERT is a Franco-British artist and filmmaker whose work explores the myriad nuances of language, psychoanalysis, and socio-political constructions of identity. Her screen sculptures are a truly innovative offering, made of layered TV screens encased in corten steel – matching a strange tenderness with the implacable power of an immovable object. Her 170kg, 11-screen reinterpretation of Lucian Freud’s famous Benefit Supervisor Sleeping painting of Sue Tilley, for example, inverted the male gaze, reframing Freud’s subject from objectified to objectifier. Colbert’s photographic work is also strongly anchored within the language of film and storytelling. Her pictures are mostly conceived as a series; a sequence developed in script format before being shot. Colbert has shown at major international fairs such as Hong Kong Basel, Istanbul Art Fair, Miami and Photo-London, and her work has been likened to the surreal work of Toomer, Breton and Dali. Here the celebrated 21st century visual storyteller tells us why one of her favourite cultural destinations is a family-run restaurant on London’s Bethnal Green Road, and explains why history must always be re-written.
If there was one piece of art you could feature in, which one would it be?
Today, I would probably want to be in Lucille Hadžihalilović’s Evolution even though it would be a terrifying experience. I Went to her screening last night. It is a body horror – A strange siren world where young boys are impregnated. The artistry was so precise. The world so compelling. It spoke a language I physically understood, and am also exploring in my own work. The body. The infinitely big reflecting the infinitely small. The strangeness and foreignness of the body. And the surreal disempowerment of the body as a societal vehicle. .
How will museums impact future cities?
I really believe in the importance of rituals and physical communal experience. Museums, public spaces, theatres, concert venues, parks, and so on, have a big role in helping shape our sense of shared culture, dragging us away from a narcissistic dialogue into a more communal one. Museums are so important in acting as a counter power to the everyday manipulation of advertising, news and just every day life, giving the space of an experience existing within different parameters.
What are your favourite emerging cultural cities or organisations?
My favourite place to go is probably E Pelluci on Bethnal green road. It’s an amazing old school east london family run cafe. It's definitely a cultural destination. People from all walks of life go there, share a meal, banter, are poked fun at equally by Nev and his lovely sister Anna.
Who do you think are the cultural innovators of tomorrow, and why?
it feels like there are two big strands of thought – those who believe technology will solve everything, and those who think technology is at the heart of all problems, like the survivalists. I’d love to see more dialogue between them, so that we may find an in-between road.
What are you up to at the moment?
I’ve just got back from installing a piece in a museum in france for an all-woman show. It was an amazing group of women –a coven of inspiring and brilliant characters and artists. i made a porcelain brick wall set at a 90-degree angle from the institution's wall, aiming to force an alternative history into our mainstream. On the bricks are names of women who were pioneers in their fields and changed the world. Some are better known than others, and all have played a role in making the world as we know it today. Among them are blank bricks, nameless as well as gaps – those who we will never know. history is always just a story and needs to be re-written always.