Jennie Guy is an artist, curator and educator based in Dublin. Her practice embraces visual, textual, performance, and event-based output. Guy's work interrogates the rituals surrounding artistic production, seeking alternate modes of observation and response. She is the founder and director of Art School, a platform that establishes new interfaces between contemporary art and sites of education. Building on the momentum developed through Art School, Guy curated the EVA 2018 schools programme. In 2016 Guy launched Artists’ Exercises with Stine Marie Jacobsen. As curator in residence with Rua Red Arts Centre she curated the exhibitions Field Recording (2018) and It's Very New School (2017). She has been a member of The Enquiry Reading Group, The Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media (GradCAM) since 2009.
Do you have a favourite art work of all time?
I don’t tend to have favourites – and certainly not favourites of all time – as I am always encountering new work. But right now, my favourite work is Our Seedling Language by Adam Gibney, which was a per cent for art commission that I curated for St. Catherine’s National School in
Rush, Co. Dublin. This artwork is a gamechanger for schools, in terms of what they can hope to achieve through per cent for art projects. The press release for the project does a good job of describing it: “Your Seedling Language is comprised of two parts: a cluster of sound-and-light-producing sculptures in the school’s entry stairwell, and a sensor tower outside of the school. The artwork utilises environmental data that is commonly related to the growth of plants. The moisture of the soil, light and temperature outside of the school provides organic compositional parameters that manipulate a generative, eight-channel vocal composition. The artwork unravels ideas surrounding the theory of biolinguistics, providing the school with a language of its own. The development of this work stemmed from research into Fingal’s rich multicultural history and how this influenced the now unused Fingallian dialect”. This project is such a strong example of Adam’s work – and I’m so excited that students will be growing up with this occupying the main stairwell in their school. The project is open for public viewing by appointment, by contacting the school.
What is your daily routine as an artist?
My routine depends on the day. I work part-time as Manager of Programme and Operations at Fire Station Artists’ Studios in Dublin, and spend my other days managing my independent projects. Over the last two years, striking the balance between these two commitments has been a good challenge
What would you say is the biggest challenge as an artist?
Realising that things always take longer than you imagine. Good projects take time to nurture and support.
Who has been of great influence to you in your field?
Again – as I’m bad at choosing singles – I’m going to list four people to answer this question. Vaari Claffey, for convincing me to stay in Ireland all those years ago to do my masters with MAVis (instead of heading to London to study at Goldsmiths). Sarah Pierce, for making complex things seem so
clear, and for being such an amazing teacher and more recently such a strong collaborator. Helen Carey, for her generous guidance related to all things directorial. And finally, if I can extend my ‘field’ to include literature, I have to include Clarice Lispector, whose writing has been very close to me over the past several years.
Tell us about what you did / your project?
The project is based on developing and producing a new book, titled Curriculum. This book explores the intersection of contemporary artistic practice and sites of education in the 21st century. At the heart of Curriculum is Art School, an independent curatorial framework that I founded in 2014. Operating throughout Ireland, Art School establishes interfaces between contemporary art and sites of education, questioning pedagogical shifts through artistic practice. It takes place as a series of projects, exhibitions, workshop and residency programmes, bringing active contemporary artists into systems of education to inspire and to expand, but also to fracture and to revise. Curriculum is comprised of essays in which both Irish and international writers engage with the work of the artists who took part in residencies and workshops within Art School. Each essay provides a lens through which individual writers can focus on specific moments within the evolution of Art School, before working outwards through their own praxis, testing how these moments resonate within the wider field of art-in-education and radical pedagogies.
What has the support from the Arts Council meant to your practice?
This Project Award has given me the ability to stand over a body of work that I have been producing over the last five years, and to generate a new project that unites a community of national and international writers who are converging on an important subject.