London based Phillipa, who studied at Central St Martins and Chelsea College of Art and Design, has exhibited internationally. Her solo shows have been presented in London, Berlin and Hong Kong, whilst her recent group exhibitions include ‘Peeping Tom’ at KAdE, Amersfoot, Netherland, and ‘Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market,’ at the Tate Modern in our capital city. However her creative abilities stretch beyond just her artistic brilliance as she also has strong links to music and fashion.; we caught up with Phillipa, late Alexander Mcqueen’s muse to talk on her new collection:
Phillipa the t-shirts are fantastic – what was the inspiration behind them?
The image on the t-shirts came from a 3 meter oil painting that I began as part of the Score series. It hasn't been an easy decision to show it but I thought if I'm going to exhibit a figurative nude it has to be of a male, which unfortunately is still a spectacle in art. Art history and contemporary culture are saturated with images of nude women. I walked around the National Gallery yesterday and noticed how it contains many paintings of nude women, such as Francesco Hayez's 1850 painting of Susanna at her Bath and Diego Velázquez's The Toilet of Venus, but noticeably fewer of the male nude and certainly none by female painters. There is something very beautiful and contemporary about the long-gone and restored slashes inflicted by the suffragettes on to such paintings, such as Mary Richardson's Fontana-like slashes to Venus' back in The Toilet of Venus. They remind me of the metal staples and instrument strings that I use to perforate my own canvas. The Haribo sweets themselves function as runes, even amulets, of a sugar rush pop culture ejaculating spectacle. Nudes of any description were rare in seventeenth-century Spanish art, which was actively policed by members of the Spanish Inquisition. These days we have no such official inquisition but the male nude still remains hidden away, as if deemed offensive or lewd, whereas the nude female graces every fashion magazine, tabloid, top shelf and billboard around the country. There is nothing wrong with this per se; what's wrong is the inequality.
ROUGH loves the fact that you can move and detach the Haribo is it important for you to allow buyers to express themselves through the t-shirts?
It's great to be able to contribute to a work of art, not through vandalism like Mary Richardson but by having the rare and novel freedom to put your individual fingerprint on a work.
VITRINE Bermondsey Street is committed to presenting emerging art practices. Was this an important factor when making the decision to work with them?
I think modern is more important than emerging, art that evolves and discusses what it means to be an artist and to display and exhibit art in progressive and critical ways. I had a studio that was once an old butcher's shop in the Blue market in Bermondsey around the same time that Vitrine started. I would curate exhibitions there, so I have a
shared context and geographical connection with the area, its locals and its artists, and I recognised a similar mentality in Vitrine.
Hariboy is part of Score. How long have you been working on this?
My whole life. All my work is a by product of thoughts, conversations and experiences that have taken me a lifetime to accumulate.
Are you looking forward to exhibiting at the infamous Saatchi Gallery?
Yes of course, it's a different and new platform for the work.
You have exhibited all over the world. What has been your favourite place?
Bermondsey street of course!
Your artistic talent is very unique. Does your personal fashion style reflect this?
I've been told by friends who work in fashion that nobody would wear the clothes that I do, so I guess so... I think it was a compliment?!
What are your favourite sweets?
I don't eat sweets anymore, but I love the way they look.
‘Hariboy’ is part of ‘Score’; a body of work produced by Phillipa Horan that will be available to view at Saatchi Gallery later this year.