On the occasion of our special digital issue on Frieze and London Art Week, we asked London-based artist Rebecca Ackroyd (b. 1987, Cheltenham, UK) a few questions on her practice and to draw up an artistic itinerary around London.
The artist is currently having her first solo show with Zabludowicz Collection.
Carla Ingrasciotta: Could you tell us about your Zabludowicz Collection exhibition and the creative process behind it?
Rebecca Ackroyd: I was thinking about gardens and the controlled cultivation of a space and how when a root takes hold there’s a lack of control in what the plant becomes; whether it flourishes, perishes or spreads. I wanted the show to have fragments of reality that come together and don’t necessarily make sense, reflecting a layering of identities and ideas that bounce between different locations and histories.
C.I.: Which are your favourite tools of artistic expression? Where do you get inspiration from?
R.A.: I don’t really have a particular set of tools as I tend to move between ways of making depending on the idea. I suppose what drives my work is wanting to articulate or express something through making objects or images and the experience of making something I haven’t seen before and allowing unexpected things to emerge within this process.
C.I.: I was fascinated by your statement: “Sexism needs to be challenged. This attitude that discounts women for not featuring in art history… it’s getting a bit stale”. In the last years, museum and institutions are trying to give female artists more space and opportunity to express themselves: in this sense, I’m thinking about the approach of Tate Modern’s new director Maria Balshaw. What do you think about it? Do you feel involved in this way or there’s still more to do?
R.A.: I think there’s always more to do to ensure that there’s a broad representation of both gender and minorities in galleries and institutions. I agree there have been steps towards this and perhaps it’s better now, but there are still huge disparities.
An Art Itinerary of London by Rebecca Ackroyd
A London art traveler itinerary should start in the West End to explore the galleries in the area and then heading East around Bethnal Green. There are a few cool places where having a lunch break over there: I love St. John, near Smithfield Market in Clerkenwell which is always reliably good, as well as Albion in Shoreditch. If you have lunch at Albion, I’ll suggest to have a visit to a great young gallery called Emalin just around the corner. They have a brilliant programme so definitely worth a visit. The Sir John Soane’s Museum at Lincoln’s Inn Fields near Holborn is incredible. Not to be missed! For a break, since I love swimming, I’ll manage a trip to the ponds in Hampstead Heath on a nice day, or the heated lido in London Fields if the weather is more chilly. In the evening I would have a dinner in one of my favourite places which is Koya bar in Soho: they serve the best udon noodles I’ve had in London. After dinner, I’d probably go to Trisha’s bar for a drink in Soho.
- Rebecca Ackroyd
- Rebecca Ackroyd, Slumberer, 2017 (detail)
- Rebecca Ackroyd, Carrier, 2017. Photo by Ben Westoby. Courtesy the artist