FK Alexander discusses her new piece, I Cannot Cope with the Future
Performance artist will live in Veneer's gallery space
FK Alexander pushes herself further than most performance artists, leaving herself raw and exposed. She has destroyed her own possessions, pushed coal into a massive pile the entire length of the floor, sung a Judy Garland classic as a durational piece and smashed cars, all surrounded by walls of strobes and noise. There is a sense of fury and frustration, of catharsis in her work, but of trying to break through the barriers which restrict and bind us. Now, she is taking this concept of elemental work to its natural conclusion, by living, sleeping and eating in a gallery for an entire week.
Chatty, warm and engaging in person, she describes this new piece as 'a situation, and an experiment. It's the combination of live-ness and the stagnancy of a gallery – the immediacy of that. I'm interested in sustainability and vulnerability, survival, and the times we're living in. Spaces interest me, you know, the circuit of festivals is finite. Visual art informs this, I'm all about image and sensation within my practice.'
The limitations and parameters are another factor driving her residency. 'If you take off your right arm, you use your left', she quips, with a mischievous grin.
'I am using similar materials to some of my previous work, for example, bringing coal into the space. That repetition is important – a referral back to these things as an artist. I do this quite a lot – I'm in conflict with my past self. Physical restriction, for me that's a natural thing. Canvases I have made using my own blood will feature – I find them oddly relaxing! There are about twenty five of those, some with quotes from books that stood out to me. I work with the filter of things I've been through, so there's references to pop culture, politics, etc. It's all very fluid, and responsive, and will no doubt change from day to day. I will be working in the window, which is floor to ceiling. There is a Facebook Live events page, for anyone who wants to see how it's all progressing.'
Art doesn't come more live than this, and the direction Alexander takes is always an unexpected route, highly challenging and always well worth pursuing.
Veneer Gallery with support from the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, 28 April–5 May.