Anna Gleeson’s foray into ceramics may be new, but it isn’t fleeting – at least, we hope it isn’t. Often seeking different ways of working and discovering new materials, it’s in the unknown that this artist finds her way.
We had a quick chat with Hong Kong-based Anna about the intention behind her latest ceramic works – which exhibited as part of our 2020 group exhibition Talismans, Rafts, Mementos – and what’s grabbing her attention right now, post life in isolation.
Your ceramic work is not only new to us but relatively fresh to your existing art practice. Can you tell us what led to the making of these very special pieces?
They came out of an experience of failure! Something I think is universal. I’m always trying to make my life look a certain way and it keeps just being the same way. For example, trying to make my life fabulous and it keeps not being fabulous.
When I started making these works it was about taking all of my not-fabulousness and putting it into the work. A surprise, then, when I saw it with fresh eyes a few weeks later and liked it.
We all experienced lockdown periods and feelings of isolation in 2020. How did that influence the work we’re sharing?
Last year was full of disappointment and thwarted intentions for most of us. It was just really therapeutic to head to the studio and make these at a time when there was nowhere to go and little else to do.
The experience has left me grateful that I have an art practice. It’s been a really productive time for me.
If anything was possible and there were no limitations in place, what would you like to make?
No limitations you say?!?! I’d love to make a piece for the fourth plinth in London! A really big one!
Tell us about your favourite podcast or book at the moment.
I really enjoyed a graphic novel called “Le Chat du Rabbin” (The Rabbi’s Cat) by Joann Sfar. It’s set in Algeria between the two world wars and it’s really profound and irreverent and loving and mocking all at the same time with very beautiful drawings.