Jesse Darling is an artist and occasional writer based in London. Darling is often credited as a forerunner of the 'post-internet' generation, pioneering notions of networked performativity and digital labor in between space and the screen; preoccupied with the problem of representation, Darling began creating 'proxies' for their own body which evolved into the sculpture practice for which they are now known. Jesse Darling works across various media including sculpture, video, installation, and text. In the broadest sense their practice is concerned with the human condition and how it is mediated through the structures, narratives and technologies that govern lived experience, knowing that what constitutes this experience is shifting along with ideas about sovereignty, gender, matter and even sentience itself. Recent exhibitions include Bread and Roses at MoMA Warsaw; GREY at Brand New Gallery, Milan (both 2016); NTGNE at Serpentine Pavilion, London; Alive for An Instant, Galeria Stereo, Warsaw; Absolute Bearing, LD50 Gallery, London; Spirit Level (with Takeshi Shiomitsu), AND/OR Gallery, London; Devotions, MOT Projects, London; They/Them, DREI, Cologne (all 2015). This spring they will publish a text with Former West and present a solo exhibition at Arcadia_Missa.
Where do you make your works?
The process starts wherever I am and gets into everything I do. I walk a lot and I think hard while walking. But for a few years now I have had a studio, which is a room with a stereo and some tools and a door I can close. That’s where I make things and where I prefer to be.
What can’t be missing from your worktable?
A museum where you’d like to have an exhibition?
I don’t know about museums, they’re like mausoleums, I don’t know the difference between them and of course I wouldn’t say no if a museum asked me although now I think about it I have said no to a museum show because it didn’t feel right.
The market or your need to express?
The former affords the latter.
Lightness or depth?
Layers and complexity
Day or night?
Both and in between
A question you’ve never been asked but one you’ve always wanted to answer?
“Can you list every show, fair, exhibiting opportunity, speaking gig in which you have refused to participate, along with the curator’s name and the reasons why?”
Answer that question...
Could you briefly describe one of your latest works produced during your residency?
I made a plastic bag crucifix in homage to the street shrines on every corner in that part of Vicenza. After a while every cruciform – gate post or a pylon - started to look like a crucifix, and I became obsessed with the ‘catholic modern’ graveyard architecture. I think a lot about religion and art and how the two are linked, or perhaps I just want to link them in my head.
What are you reading?
Sylvia Wynter’s On Being Human as Praxis. Joshua Simon’s Neomaterialism. How to Read Donald Duck (Para leer al Pato Donald), written in Chile in 1971 about Disney Imperialism. Here’s a pdf.
I like action movies but I don’t like Hollywood imperialism so these days I watch a lot of anime.
Where would you like to live?
I’m not sure, there is trouble everywhere so I might as well stay where I am.
Do you have reference artists? Artists you’d like to work with?
My favourite artists are the ones I know personally and I like to work with them, or alongside them, whenever I can.
A project, related to art, that you’d like to do?
I can’t tell you because it’s a secret/foetus until it happens and then sometimes it doesn’t happen.
If you weren’t an artist, what job would you like?
I have done all kinds of jobs and despite everything this is the best one.
Yes or no to curators? If yes, who would you choose?
Yes, it’s a symbiotic relationship and a great privilege to be curated by someone who cares about the work. Like lovers, the artist and the curator tend to choose each other so I can’t answer this question speculatively.
A dream of yours?
Feels too difficult to write out loud.