After party at The Red Lion, 41 Hoxton Street, Shoreditch, N1 6NH from 21.00.


Click here for images of 'A Display' the Lucy Clout show



An interview between Rebecca May Marston and Lucy Clout, 5th May 2007.

RMM: Ok, how should we start? We have to say something about the fact that you already did ‘Temporary Measures’ at Associates, the 12 solo shows in 12 days. Yours, in particular, was one that could have been there for a month-long show. Is it different conceiving a show for one day rather than a month?
LC: I approached ‘Temporary Measures’ as if the show could have been there for a month. That was a more useful way for me to work and get what I wanted out of it.
RMM: That’s strange, because a lot of your work is performance-based, so I wasn’t expecting you to revert the other way and make a full on context-specific exhibition.
LC: Maybe I’m just a bit obtuse. I’d been getting sick of doing performances I wanted to do something closer to an object-based thing, and I hadn’t for quite a while, so it was a good opportunity with it being quite a low risk situation.
RMM: What do you mean by low risk situation? What are you trying to say about us?
LC: Really straightforwardly, because it was only one day less people would see it.
RMM: Oh. Are you practising all the time, making work, or are you specifically conceiving work for the show?
LC: I want this to relate to the first show so its quite context specific. To be honest I’m not in a position of having enough time to do that looser way of making work. But then again I’ve never worked like that, I have a goal and I work towards it.
RMM: When you work towards a context in that way, does the reality change from what you imagine?
LC: Yes, definitely. I’m quite jealous of those people that have an idea and work on the formalities of that idea for however long, though maybe those people don’t really exist. I always spend a lot of time working out an idea by dragging small objects through it. My work tends to change a lot through the processes of doing it. It’s also likely that in the last week I totally change my mind and do something different.
RMM: Is that to do with stage fright?
LC: I think my best work has always been made like that.
RMM: So you don’t have a secure sense of working through something and knowing it’s brilliant and making it?
LC: No, things change and I kind of like that churning.
RMM: Can I ask something separate? You know how Ryan’s a bitter, angry Northern artist, are you one too?
LC: No. I’m not bitter or angry. I am from the North. But I don’t think I’ve got anything to be bitter about.
RMM: [Enter Shakeeb Abu Hamdan] Morning. I’ll just pause it… Ok. What do you think some of the best things about London are?
LC: A million things… That you always have the opportunity to see cultural stuff, that there are enough people to make things happen. I love all of those clichés as well, like just walking along the Southbank.
RMM: And what are the worst things?
LC: Erm… That London is so blind of the rest of the country.
RMM: Do you mean art particularly or generally?
LC: Both. And the swagger that’s it’s got is a bit embarrassing.
RMM: Do you think that affects places outside London more or affects London more?
LC: I think it’s detrimental for people in London, it’s foolishness and peoples foolishness ought not to be encouraged.
RMM: Can I ask a Hans question; what are your unrealised projects?
LC: I don’t have any unrealised projects. That makes my mind sound so much neater than it is; there are million things I think about every now and again any of which I could say now but they’d be totally embarrassing. They’d need to go through some sieving over many, many months before they could ever be put into the world. But there’s definitely not a beautiful unrealised project that I could create if only somebody gives me half a million pounds.
RMM: But there is big suitcase full of little ideas, so when a context comes up do you mine through it and pluck them out?
LC: Yeah. I’m really looking forward to after the show to having a period of time to work without having a goal. Though, again, this might be a fantasy.
RMM: Are Keeby and your friends and family in your work this time?
LC: Yes. I’ve always liked to work within my means, financially and skill wise because it’s useful for me to have these boundaries and I do happen to be related to, or know, a lot of other skilled and adorable people.
RMM: So if you were a millionaire it’d be Tom Jones doing voice-overs instead of your Dad or whatever?
LC: No no no no no… Maybe it’s not about money maybe it’s just about access. I haven’t shelled out for any actors in this. All the things I do are about small-scale things, about negotiations and experiences, actually bringing stuff like actors into my work would be very difficult. If I had a specific project that I couldn’t work out via a series of favours then it’d be different, but I like to work via a series of favours. I like that I can help out other people making work in other ways too.
RMM: Yeah, yeah, I think that anyone at any level works best with those economies… Ryan said to ask you a question about making objects and ideas, and if you never had to make any more objects, but I can’t remember what the question was?
LC: Erm… I think that the two things are entirely the same for me. The kind of art I like and aspire to make ought not to be just thinking made concrete. The material of that work ought to be thought itself, if you know what I mean? My work isn’t like that at the moment, which is annoying me.
RMM: What is it instead then?
LC: It’s too thinking and not enough making. The ‘special magic’ thing of art for me has been, you know, objects as a way of understanding the world and moving stuff around in the world as being a way of understanding the world. Since I don’t think of art thinking as particularly different to my everyday thinking, then I don’t know if it would be sustaining a practice if I just did the thinking.
RMM: Ok. And what are you doing for the show?
LC: [Laughs] It may change a lot: it’s going to be another voice-over thing, like a language-learning tape, some objects, a little slide presentation and some chairs.
RMM: So what relation does it bear to the first show?
LC: The first one was kind of thinking put to an audience. It was to do with an imagined usefulness of what you learn everyday and the snippets of information you happen to remember and recall, which make up much of experience. Whereas this second one is more about labour, and the conditions you create to justify your labour. I’ve been thinking about how you create these kind of faux moral processes to validate the way you spend your time. And how, even at a very small-scale level, you have to position what you do and what you produce in the future, to allow it to happen.
RMM: What do you mean by positioning in the future?
LC: There’s a kind of imagined future audience for the things you do in work, art and everything. You allow the things you do importance by imagining you’re watched doing them, or making play of improving things so these imagined people will be able to understand what you’ve spent your time doing. It’s a socially necessary kind of narcissism.
RMM: How do you feel that your first show went?
LC: I was really pleased. It wasn’t perfect. A lot of the pleasure I got from it was that it wasn’t a performance, but was object-based.
RMM: Why?
LC: People could talk to me about it after, which they never do with my performances.
RMM: Because in general people can’t talk about performance, it’s rubbish. And what were some of the things you think failed in the first one?
LC: I can’t tell you all of my flaws Rebecca.
RMM: That’s like taking off your superpower cape and you’re just a woman after all.
LC: I think I’m naked enough with my ‘oh my boyfriend’s just coming through in his dressing gown, we should pause it.’
RMM: Well, maybe we should stop there, and we’ll just see…
LC: We’ll just see.



Lucy Clout was born in Leeds in 1980. She gained a BA (Hons) from Goldsmiths College in 2004. Since graduation she completed a residency at Cove Park, Scotland (2004), a commission for Beacon, Lincolnshire (2006), a group show at Tou Gallery, Stavanger, Norway (2006), and a 1-day solo show at Associates as part of Temporary Measures (2007).


For more information contact Rebecca May Marston at or +44 (0) 207 729 8173 or see