Unit London is thrilled to announce the opening of Daisy Collingridge’s Platform exhibition. Her solo show is now live in our online viewing room (click here to view).
As an artist led gallery, Unit London is dedicated to supporting its artists and providing a focussed space in which they can express their ideas. The Platform exhibition series engages with topical social, political and cultural issues, inviting artists to explore the concepts that motivate their work. To align with the core social principles of the programme, 10% of all sales proceeds are donated to a charity or non-profit of the artist’s choosing. Daisy Collingridge’s nominated charity is Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Daisy Collingridge’s multi-disciplinary practice is focused on the exploration of the human form through the interplay between sculpture and performance art, which takes form in what she calls the ‘Squishies’. These creations are either purely sculptural or wearable flesh suits, which once worn by the artist become animated and full of life.
Daisy Collingridge, FALLING TOGETHER, 2021, Photographic print, 50 x 60 cm, Edition of 10 plus 1 Artist proof
Daisy Collingridge in Conversation:
How would you describe the type of work you do?
It is an artistic practise that doesn’t fit neatly into any category. Firstly, I am a sculptor using fabric as my main medium. There is an anatomical aspect to them. The sculptures are often wearable and animated so the practice has expanded to encompass performance, photography and film. I like to create the worlds in which the sculptures can live. The core of the work is an exploration of cloth and flesh.
How would you like to see people interact with your art?
Interaction can happen on many levels. So far, the most frequent interaction is on a tiny square phone screen. The experience of seeing the photography of the work is very different to meeting a living breathing one in a live situation. I love taking photos. I can control the environment. I can curate colours and textures to make the image as tangible as possible but there is something unnerving and unpredictable about watching people interact with the sculptures in real life. They are so tactile and invite touch. It is irresistible to some. Touch is one of the two most personal senses. You cannot touch without being touched. I have ideas of creating a fully interactive touchable snug-able, squidge-able world. One day.
Why Burt, Hillary, Clive and Dave? Where do you begin in your process of giving them their identity?
Their character begins to emerge during the making of the head. This is usually when the naming occurs. I like to give them recognisable and familiar names. It wouldn’t be the same if they were called ‘Untitled 1’. Giving them a name signifies that they are an individual and have their own identity. I spend so many days of my life with them as I construct them. They become real to me. I curse them for making me have sore fingers and yet they are a labour of love.
You mention that each one of the Squishies are individual characters, do you consequently behave differently when you wear each piece?
Yes. In part, you behave differently according to the physical limitations of each piece. You hold your own body and posture in a different way, which in turn changes the way the Squishy moves. But there is more than just the physicality. Each piece is imbued with a different energy and personality. There are not complicated back stories but there is an essence. I always have the most fun wearing Burt. There is this freedom about him, a refusal to hide and a liberated presence. It is interesting how small moments are magnified when you watch the characters interact.
Where do you think your work fits in dialogue with artists who came before you?
I saw Louise Bourgeois’ work at the Tate Modern when I was a kid. Obviously, I remember being awestruck by the towering ‘Maman’ spider but it was the soft towelling figurative sculptures that stuck with me. There is a feeling of simultaneously being repelled and yet being drawn in because of their softness and fragility. Her work always seems to have an uncomfortable interplay of emotions. I feel like my work sits in a similar complex conversation of opposing sensations.
I am also really into old anatomical studies. In particular the woodcut illustrations in Andreas Vesalius’ book ‘De humani corporis fabrica (On the fabric of the Human Body)’. Although intended to be educational they are not flat dispassionate diagrams they are animated studies of humanity. There is a series of flayed men and skeletons who pose nonchalantly in landscapes with towns or woods on the horizon. I find them curiously amusing. They have purposefully infused life back into the corpses they were drawing from. I find animating and bringing something to life a joyful process. Maybe elements of my work are a new version of an anatomical study.
I have only recently discovered the works of Caroline Coon and I find her figurative paintings captivating. I like the way the nude bodies are simplified into these smooth rounded shapes, making the muscle groups easy to identify. You can recognize the machine of the body working in these moments of movement.