Listening to Scarlett Lingwood: An Interview With One Of London’s Leading Emerging Artists

Scarlett Lingwood

The emerging artist, Scarlett Lingwood, has a new show called, “Calasetta Calling,” on March 4th at the Stationer’s Hall in St. Paul’s. Since graduating from Goldsmiths in September, she has already achieved recognition through winning the Parasol unit Exposure 13 Award, which celebrates the work of recent graduates by inviting three winners to exhibit at the Parasol unit in a month-long show.

I recently sat down with Scarlett in her Soho studio to discuss the upcoming show at Stationer’s Hall. She began by explaining what we should expect from “Calasetta Calling.”

Scarlett Lingwood: It’s going to be at this venue called the Stationer’s Hall in St Paul’s. It’s a one evening event, and I’m going to be doing a performance. I did an art residency in Sardinia over the summer. The person [Stefano Rabolli Pansera, the director of Beyond Enthropy] who invited me to do the residency, has invited me [subsequently] to work on this project. It’s hard to know exactly, now, what’s going to happen in the performance. But thinking about it now, I’m having these stamps made and I’m going to be making books live. So people will actually see me making the books.

Katherine Morais: So the exhibition is going to be performance art, but then people can walk away with the physical art?

SL: Yes, they can buy the books…

KM: What was your inspiration for doing this performance art? …

SL: I do consider what I’m doing at Stationer’s Hall to be a form of performance. But I’m not sure if I feel ready yet to describe it as performance art, it’s like an element…

When I went to Sardinia I did this wall drawing. I’d never actually drawn on a wall, even though I’ve done a lot of drawing on paper. And I remember being incredibly interested by the sound of the pencil marking the wall. With this piece, there is going to be sound amplified of me pressing the stamps onto the paper… I spent a lot of time in the space [in Sardinia] by myself and I was working very intensely on this [wall] drawing. The sound was just something – of course, I was aware of the drawing consistently expanding – but I was also aware of the sound of me drawing on to the wall.

KM: So you are exhibiting your experience as an artist?

SL: I don’t know if it’s to exhibit my experience as an artist. But it’s difficult for people to access [the work in Sardinia], like they can see photos of the piece, but actually to see the physical piece you would have to go to Sardinia. So [this show is] about thinking about what happened there and a way to bring it to London where more people can access the piece.

KM: Describe for us the piece in Sardinia.
SL: It’s a wall drawing where I have just drawn lots and lots of circles…

KM: Did you know beforehand that was the piece you were going to do?

SL: Not really. I knew that one of the things suggested was that you leave something permanent in the space. There was another artist who had done a wall-drawing sort of near where mine was. I found myself quite often looking at the wall-drawing that she had done. And I spent a bit of time thinking about what I could do in the space, which could be left permanently, rather than doing a drawing and taking it home…

KM: How did you get this residency?

SL: My Mum had a lunch at her house for one of the artists that she worked with at her gallery. I had made this card for one of her artists. He was turning 50, and I had stamped a 5 and a 0. Stefano was also at my house for lunch, but I’d never met him before, and he seemed to be quite impressed by the card that I had made. He said to me, at that time that he was at my house, ‘I’d really like you to come to Sardinia in the summer.’

And when he said that, I was just… [pauses to remember how she felt]… because obviously people quite often complement your work, but they don’t necessarily offer something straight away. I don’t know if ‘offer’ is the right word. It was the first time someone had said to me. ‘I really like your work, would you like to do a residency?’

KM: Where does your inspiration for pieces come from?

SL: Quite often it can be from a place that I’ve been, or a like conversation that I’ve had, or something that I’ve seen. Quite often, the idea will sort of start in my head, and then I might see something maybe on the street, or have a conversation with someone. And then something sort of happens… It’s quite hard to describe.

KM: Are you interested in the random courses of life?

SL: I suppose in some ways, or possibly the unexpected. Or, if one thing happens, and another thing doesn’t.

KM: Can you give me an example from your work?

SL: Like the walk from St John’s Wood to Deptford. Obviously, there is a route on the map that if you followed, [it] is how you would get to Deptford. But, of course, there are a lot of other ways that I could have [taken] to Deptford, not following the map. Actually, it turned out that I did not to follow the map route. But it’s like whether you decide to walk on one side of the street or the other, and what sort of people or things you are going to see along that route.

KM: You explored that through recording the sounds, correct?

There is no visual representation of Lingwood’s route to Deptford only an audio recording of the journey, which was exhibited in the Parasol unit Exposure 13 group show.

SL: Yeah, the sounds of my footsteps. I think that it’s sort of broader than the context of art. I sort of feel like, on a day-to-day basis, you have an idea, possibly, about how your day will be structured, or what is going to happen within that day, but there are always things that you have to negotiate.

I think that’s why I’m particularly interested in being an artist, because no two days are the same…

KM: You say you are interested in the path not taken in the mundane life. When you recorded yourself walking, we could only hear the path that you did take. How did you represent or convey the path that you did not take?

SL: I think it goes back to the piece that I’m going to be doing next month, because you want people to go on this journey with you somehow. If they are listening to the sounds, of course they are not going to know if I walked on the left or right side of the street; even now, I’m not sure what side of the street I walked on, but it’s about having that memory of what happened. Like with the sound of me drawing on the wall in Sardinia, the people, who are going to be coming to the piece [at the Stationer’s Hall], are not going to have been there experiencing the sound that I heard when I was making the drawing.

KM: Thank you. I look forward to experiencing your multisensory show at the Stationer’s Hall.

Though Scarlett Lingwood is still experimenting with different mediums, she clearly feels impacted by life’s sounds. She uses the visceral power of sound to artistically recreate experiences in her life. Her new show is a one-night event of amplified sounds of her making books, and a window into an artist’s studio. “Calasetta Calling” will take place on March 4th at the Stationer’s Hall in Saint Paul’s from 18:00-21:00.

Interview: Katherine Morais is a freelance journalist writing for Artlyst © 2014