Lucie (b.1995, London) uses drawing, print and sculpture to create landscapes and dreamscapes which activate discursive non-linear temporalities. She graduated with a BA (hons) in Painting and Printmaking from The Glasgow School of Art in 2017 where she received the Royal Glasgow Institute Graduate Award. She will graduate with an MA in Print from The Royal College of Art in 2023. Lucie has exhibited in a variety of galleries and project spaces in London and Glasgow, most recently at Southwark Park Galleries and The Pump House Gallery. As an artist concerned with the politics and poetics of place, residencies have informed the development of Lucie’s practice. In particular, a residency at Dumfries House in Ayrshire catalysed her exploration of architecture and memory which have become key sites of interest in her work at the RCA.
“Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful and everything conceals something else.”
Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino
I have recurring dreams about walking in circles, with no destination, through the heath behind the house I grew up in. I am trying to trace connections between past, present and future in places where the air is thick and heavy with memories. Spaces that reverberate with lived histories and potential futures all inextricably wrapped up in each other fascinate me. These landscapes have their own temporal climate which makes room for drifting and daydreaming as subtle forms of resistance to corporate, ahistorical approaches to urban space. I photograph these places as I encounter them in my every-day life, from the concrete ghosts of modernist projects to liminal borderlands where the city dissolves into canals, heaths and other untamed spaces. Images from this photographic archive are recreated through a forensic process of drawing. Repetitive, laborious approaches to mark making lengthen and pay homage to ephemeral and profound experiences of the overlooked.
Screen-printing enables drawings to migrate from image to object, taking on fresh associations as they engage with a diverse array of surfaces. Seemingly ubiquitous urban objects are warped and transfigured, rebuilt in steel, copper, clay and wood. This uncanny transmutation emphasises the unfixed, malleable nature of the spaces they originate from. Layered images and unexpected material fusions create hybrid landscapes, operating as archaeological sites, where histories both personal and collective are built and buried.
“Every new body is a new mask, is permission, is something giving nothing a right to exist. That is to say, the city needs the performance in order to be itself… For Eko to stay real, ghosts must continue to pass as people, but people also continue to fizzle to ghosts.”
Vagabonds, Eloghosa Osunde
If you screen print onto metal whilst the layer below is still wet parts of the image are lifted, revealing buried histories, ghostly traces that swarm to the surface.
Sometimes an image burned on a silk-screen refuses to fully wash off. The image that clings to the screen even as it is reused is called a ghost.
I want everything I make to be alive with ghosts, slippages in the process of making that destabilise the relationship between front and back, full and empty, past and future.
“I will have spent my life trying to understand the function of remembering, which is not the opposite of forgetting, but rather its lining. We do not remember. We rewrite memory much as history is rewritten.”
Sans Soleil, dir. Chris Marker
Many of my earliest memories are shaped by photographs of my own childhood. I have begun to question the legitimacy of these recollections: are they real or just tricks of the imagination, fictitious histories inspired by photographs?
As I feed images of landscapes surrounding the house I grew up in through an AI image generator, they acquire the quality of memory- uncanny, simultaneously familiar and strange. The screen of my laptop becomes a malleable, shifting terrain where alternative pasts and speculative futures proliferate unchecked. In these liquid worlds, light no longer obeys the rules of physics, text becomes fragmentary and illegible, signage glitches. Still, these artificial memories sometimes feel more real than a photograph could ever be. When I find one of these realer than real images, I coax it out of the screen by drawing.
“A city- any city, every city- is the eradication, even the ruin, of the landscape from which it arose…
To erase the ruins is to erase the visible public triggers of memory; a city without ruins and traces of age is like a mind without memories”
The Ruins of Memory, Rebecca Solnit
Amidst a continually expanding desert of luxury housing and corporate non-places, modernist buildings linger like memories from a dream that never came to fruition. These concrete spectres make me nostalgic for lives I have never lived- places I have never been, futures that never emerged. I became interested in documenting hauntological fragments of post-war architecture to deterritorialise the notion of a discrete historical incident and unearth temporally dormant dreams of a future beyond neoliberal materialism. Perhaps memory can activate disruptive and discursive temporalities that challenge the processes of privatisation and cultural cleansing underpinning contemporary urban redevelopment projects.
I have become interested in the canal as a heterotopia that disrupts conventional passages through the city, creating unexpected connections between places. I have spent a lot of time there, thinking about gestural painting, authorship, loneliness, cultural memory and defaced signage. Dense accretions of graffiti, scrawled over so many times they crumble into illegibility, mirror the palimpsestic, poly-temporal nature of the city. In moments of stillness this semiotic detritus takes on a profound significance. It feels like a human presence, an attempt at communication, a gesture of care.
Drawings from this series translate graffiti marks into a laborious process of drawing. I am trying to deconstruct masculinist histories of gestural painting and gendered labour through the lens of public space. Through process I am developing an embodied understanding of what happens when something immediate, performative and public becomes a quiet, laborious, solitary activity.