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RAE 2008

Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design


Cass Alumnus is New Artist in Residence

Joshua Raffell an Alumnus of The Cass (The Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Media and Design) has been appointed Artists in residence for 2011 at Studio 1.1 Gallery, an artist run gallery space in Shoreditch E2. Joshua, who graduated from BA (Hons) Fine Art and won the Owen Rowley Prize for Fine Art in 2010, provided some of the high points of the 2010 Cass Summer Show with his controversial kinetic sculptures.

Studio 1.1 (Keran James and Michael Keenan) on the artist is residence programme and Joshua Raffell:

"Studio1.1’s Artist in Residence programme began as a simple conceptual provocation (How can a small artist-run space with no budget or funding set itself up with a designation that is normally associated with only major institutions. So initially our first artist in residence, Russell Martin (2008) was a conceptual experiment - his work consisting purely of dialogue with no encumbering objects being produced - no space in the gallery taken up. But as we went on we realised that it was possible for us to venture into more tangible territory; the opportunity for the artist in residence to do pretty much anything they wanted within the year and within the strictures of the timetable of shows we had planned, was too good to pass up.

Joshua’s work while very far from the mainstream takes us further into the realm of physical rather than theoretical provocation. We have always been aware of our responsibility to the public and the appreciation (or otherwise) of art by the wider community (of non-artists), and as a gallery committed to offering some accessibility into the difficult area of serious art, we always have our door literally open and are always ready to be the necessary intermediary between the public and the sometimes complex art that we present.

That Joshua’s work crosses and re-crosses boundaries of public and private seemed a perfect counterpart to our position in/outside the shifting art world/market where what is a dissenting voice one minute becomes a designated cutting-edge must-have commodity the next.

This can be an uncomfortable place and Josh recognises that we must all bear responsibility for wherever we situate ourselves along the spectrum of comfort and outrage. That Josh’s work, beautifully crafted and defiantly object- and outrage-based, can simultaneously offend and delight the same sensibility at the same time seemed to us a perfect choice for our Artist in Residence 2011."

Joshua Raffell on studio 1.1:

Being asked to be Artist in Residence for studio1.1 gallery is a great opportunity for me to take my work forward. I met Michael Keenan and Keran James during my time at Sir John Cass in 2008. (I graduated in 2010). Adam Watts and Lorna Pridmore formed a group of students and we started doing shows outside the campus. Michael visited us at our studios in Central House and we talked about our ideas and the work in progress. At the time I was working on 'Masturbating Marv', the first of my erotic armatures. Marv was made for a show at 491 Gallery, called ‘2x2’.

We then visited studio1.1 to talk about the theme of a show we would hold at the gallery called 'The Life of Signs' and to discuss the work we were planning to include. I made a kinetic work called ‘Susie The Self Sucking Satyr'. dressing up in a homemade outfit and make-up allowing me to talk to the audience and encourage them to play with my work. Taking the angle of symbolism and the satyr being a metaphor for anything crude, naughty and over the top. Although Michael had reservations regards the initial idea he felt the work was strong enough to go in the show. Once the exhibition had finished, we had a group crit to talk about different aspects of the show and our work. This was the last show we did as a group but we still remain friends and support each other when possible.

I invited Michael and Keran to a performance I carried out at a Q-Art convenor in 2009. The performance was called ‘Let Life be a Circus’ and people gave feedback afterwards. The performance itself was slated but the overall consensus was that my work was strong. Michael and Keran were unable to come along to the performance but asked via e-mail how it went. I explained and was invited to studio1.1 to talk about the experience. The outcome of this talk was that performance was indeed an integral part of my work as well as the questioning of what exactly is a performance? We concluded that the problem was more with my having a set script and trying to remember words. When I dressed-up and just talked to people, as I had previously done in 'The Life of Signs', it was more relaxed and still a performance.

More recently, I was cycling my work from Leytonstone to Deptford for a show at APT gallery. This was a show that Q-Art organised for everybody who had taken part in the convenor crits during the year. On my way, I bumped into Michael getting off a bus in Shoreditch. He liked the concept and said it was probably my most intricate work to date. Michael also came along to the show. Shortly after this I was invited to go into talk with Michael and Keran at their gallery and they asked me if I would like to be artist in residence. We talked about the bike and how it would be a great for me to start cycling my work around London from the gallery, especially as they are situated between Brick Lane and Shoreditch High Street. Knowing that I have their backing and support is a privilege and will spur me on with added vigour.

Gallery Details:
Studio 1.1
57a Redchurch St. London, E2 7DJ

Artist Site
Joshua Raffell

London Metropolitan University