(selected by Bedwyr Williams)
Ikebukuro a Go-Go, 2006
'I saw Lucienne Cole tap-dancing to The Smiths' 'Heaven knows I'm miserable now' in New York and in Derby at Grizedale Art projects. It is one of my favourite performances ever. Other projects have included 'Thoughts of the week', her collection of observations, sayings and bon mot's which she handed out to commuters at Liverpool's Lime Street Station in pamphlet form, and a radio station for Grizedale Art's resurrection of Coniston Water Festival.' (Bedwyr Williams)
The core of Lucienne Cole's practice is centred around performance and video, exploring the extent to which popular culture forms and informs the contemporary psyche. Encompassing photography, drawing, writing and music, her work reflects and highlights the slippages between fantasy and reality in everyday life. Recent works have grown out of her love for popular music and its importance to her life and others', along with wider interests in popular culture and issues of identity, iconography, and sub-cultures such as mods and rockers, ballroom dancers, record collectors. Cole, however, never belongs to the people and 'cultures' she finds herself interested in: she is almost a wanton outsider.
'Sha La La' (2006) is a short film shot in a chip shop in Islington, London, where Cole performs a made up song parodying typical 60's girl-group songs. 'Moonwalk' (2004) plays on 1970's durational performance, where the artist attempts to moonwalk up and down an Ikea shaggy rug for the duration of Michael Jackson's 'Billy Jean'. 'Ikebukuro a Go-Go' (2006) is video of a performance which took place in Ikebukuro, Tokyo as part of The Seven Samurai project with Grizedale Arts. Cole sent an instructional video to Tokyo residents to learn 1960s' dances, then instructed different groups of dancers culminating in a performance in Ikebukuro's Arts Square, encouraging audience and public to join in.
Humour and a sense of melancholy pervade the work, treading the fuzzy line between embarrassing and funny, sad and touching. The performance 'Dance To Music' (2004-06) sees Cole tap dancing to The Smiths completely deadpan in a semi-amateur manner, with steps recalled from the tap classes she attended as a teenager. Cole uses herself as a tool, drawing from her past involvement with theatre and dance, knowing how to project parts of herself, how never to lose her own self in a character, and using costume in conjunction with the staging and creating of scenarios.
Lucienne Cole - Statement
'I am a believer in art as entertainment, able to exist and thrive in a multitude of contexts. For me performance particularly is a very direct way of communicating with an audience. My focus has tended to shift away from the notion of art as object, and the gallery space as a medium for presenting both my work and myself, and more towards engaging people in public places and spaces. Previous works have often been made in response to, or because of, specific places and situations. I have become more and more interested in collaboration, creating and facilitating opportunities for specific groups, linked by interests or locality, to both inform and become a part of the process of my work.
Recent examples include a series of radio programmes entitled 'Whole Lotta Love' that I produced for Coniston Water Festival (centred around esoteric record collections of Lake District residents), and an event looking at Mod Culture for the Liverpool Biennial in collaboration with Grizedale Arts ('It'll Never Be Over For Me', 2006).
On leaving college in Liverpool I decided to stay in the city and was active in many projects to bring people together and reflect art and artists regionally and further afield. I set up Parking Space, an artist-led initiative and gallery space, and was a key player in developing the so-called fringe artist led strands of the first two Liverpool Biennials. I also ran a club-night called Boutique and promoted links between the art and music scenes in the city'.
Lucienne Cole (b. 1970, London) studied at Liverpool John Moores University (BA (Hons) Fine Art, 1994) and Chelsea School of Art and Design, London (MA Fine Art, 2004). Selected exhibitions and performances include The Museum, live webcast of performance at Hoxton Hall, London, 2006, The Museum of Sorrow, Union Chapel, London, 2006, It'll Never Be Over For Me, Virtually Grizedale & A/Foundation, Liverpool Biennial, 2006; Seven Samurai with Grizedale Arts, Tokyo, 2006; Itchy Park 3, Limehouse Town Hall, London, 2006; Make Your Own Kind of Music, radio performance with Ben Sadler for Resonance FM, 2006; Art Futures, Bloomberg Space, London, 2006; Whole Lotta Love, radio programmes for Brick FM, Coniston Water Festival, Grizedale Arts, 2005; Fabaret, Brighton, 2005; Romantic Detachment, Grizedale Arts, Chapter, Cardiff, 2004; Romantic Detachment, Grizedale Arts, PS1, New York, 2004. She lives and works in Birmingham.
'Dance to Music', 2006 (Performance - video clip presented on YouTube)