Artist Talk: Jimmy Robert

Jimmy Robert, Vanishing Point (still), 2013. Courtesy of the artist; Tanya Leighton, Berlin; and Stigter van Doesburg, Amsterdam.
Jimmy Robert, Vanishing Point (still), 2013. Courtesy of the artist; Tanya Leighton, Berlin; and Stigter van Doesburg, Amsterdam.

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Our exhibiting artist, Jimmy Robert, discusses club culture, music and resilience with sound artist and DJ Ain Bailey and artist Emma Hedditch.

Since the 1800s, clubs and bars have figured in the margins of art history as important places for intellectual gathering and artistic discovery. In the 1980s and 1990s, clubs across London, Berlin and New York would function as spaces of musical creation, performance and political gathering. Yet, Covid-19 represents a major challenge for club culture and its communities, highlighting the precarious and inequitable labour as well as low recognition of club culture’s creative and artistic values.

Assembling different club scenes, Robert, Bailey and Hedditch discuss friendship and how clubs as spaces of political action and togetherness have been dramatically impacted by the current crisis.

Ain Bailey is a sound artist and DJ. She facilitates workshops considering the role of sound in the formation of identity and recently held a residency at the ICA, London. Exhibtions in 2019 included ‘The Range’ at Eastside Projects, Birmingham; ‘RE:Respite’ at Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland, and ‘And We’ll Always Be A Disco In The Glow Of Love’, a solo show at Cubitt Gallery, London. In 2019, Bailey was commissioned by Supernormal and Jupiter festivals to create and perform a new work, ‘Super JR’. Currently, following a commission by Serpentine Projects, she is conducting sound workshops with LGBTI+ refugees and asylum seekers, as well as working on commissions for radio for Deutshlandfunk Kultur, Radiophrenia and Savvy Contemporary’s new radio station, SAVVYZAAR.

Emma Hedditch is an artist whose work focuses on daily practice, materiality, and distribution of knowledge as political action. They have been a member of the Cinenova Working Group (1999–present) The Copenhagen Free University (2001–2008), No Total, a site for performance (2012–2017) and Coop Fund (2018- present).

Jimmy Robert works with diverse media including photography, collages, objects, art books, short films and performance art. In his explorations into the relationship between images and objects, Robert draws attention to the dynamics of different surfaces. Questions of identity and its representation are his main interest, and he uses a variety of references to literature, art and music to emphasise the fragility of the materials he uses. In some performances Robert’s body becomes a projection surface, where the tension between the portrayal and the content reveal the relationship between appropriation and alienation. In previous works, Robert has explored the politics of spectatorship by reworking seminal avant-garde performances in ways that complicate their racial and gendered readings.

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