Interview: Louise Folliott
Luca Curci talks with Louise Folliott during FUTURE LANDSCAPES, third appointment of BORDERS Art Fair 2020, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
Louise Folliott was born and raised in South Africa and has lived in UK and Hong Kong respectively. She completed her MFA with High Distinction in 2019 at RMIT and Hong Kong Art School after completing a PGDIP from Byam Shaw, Central Saint Martin’s in 2010. Her artwork has been selected for the Threadneedle Prize in London in both 2010 and 2013 as well as being selected as a finalist in a photographic competition at the Getty images gallery in London. Folliott has exhibited internationally in Hong Kong, UK, South Africa and Singapore notably ICA in Singapore and Mall Galleries, London. She has been selected for AIR residency in London as well as Tropical Lab 13 in Singapore. Folliott’s work explores issues of the felt identity of displacement, dislocation and tensions of self-imposed exile along with questions over identity as an African artist.
Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
Louise Folliott – Currently I am working towards a new body work, exploring the concept of home and everyday life and new rituals developed during pandemic time, that should culminate in an exhibition in 2021. I am also interested in the development of polarization in society at present.
LC – What’s your background?
LF – I was born and raised in South Africa but left after graduating from university because of economic and political instability. I have a BAFA (hons) from the University of Cape Town. I moved to London and completed a PG Dip from Central Saint Martin’s. I have three beautiful children and more recently I moved to Hong Kong for 3 years before returning to London at the beginning of 2020. I completed my MFA in Hong Kong through RMIT and Hong Kong art school.
LC – What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
LF – As a young child I experienced the tumultuous years growing up at the end of Apartheid in South Africa. Having lived through this experience and seeing radical social and political change of this degree has shaped my view forever. Seeing people make a stand for what they believe in and how art and communities help this process was incredibly important to me.
LC – What is your creative process like?
LF – My creative process has changed over the years.. As I am a mother of 3 children, I have had to adapt my working habits and the medium I work with. I was primarily a painter and printmaker, however during my Postgraduate Diploma I found out I was pregnant with my first child. At the time I was working with lots of chemicals, resin and also welding.. I decided to change my medium completely as I was concerned about the effects of the chemicals during pregnancy. I started to sew plastic work in soft sculptural forms. This remained after I had my daughter and subsequently, I work in sculptural assemblage. Also being able to work around family life and my children is very important to me.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
LF – Mostly my art deals with the concept of ‘home’, displacement, dislocation, and migration. This has been heavily influenced by my experience of growing up in South Africa and leaving a country I love.
LC – Do visitors’ suggestions enrich yourself and your art?
LF – I am always interested to hear people’s interpretations and views. I use it as a method of honing my own practice and for fine tuning the message of my work.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
LF – I think your vision is a very interesting one as it has the potential to open up and broaden the art market that traditionally was very closed and nuanced. This is very important as making art accessible to as wide a population as possible, is essential for encouraging cross cultural dialogue and discussion.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
LF – My work fitted this theme perfectly as it was using ‘landscape’ as inspiration to explore ‘Dystopic’ and ‘Utopic’ futures all derived from walking and exploring during lockdown and the pandemic this year.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
LF – Yes definitely, particularly in the current times having a platform like Itsliquid provides a very useful service and can promote international projects to a broad range of people.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
LF – Yes, I believe it can, especially through its art fairs and international network.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
LF – It’s been wonderful working with you and I only wish I could have attended the exhibition personally. I had booked my flights but unfortunately, I had to cancel as quarantines and other restrictions were introduced at the last minute.