08 February 2023


No More Kings

I was invited by artists Dunya Kalantery and Rima Patel to write a text for their book ‘The Brightness of JuJu’, a collaborative project with children from Willow Bank and Harris Garrard Primary Schools in Thamesmead.

It’s a beautiful, touching, violent book made up of collage, painting, assemblage, found objects and wild imagination. It tells the story of a future world without adults in which children make the rules, discover agency, and create magnificent poetry (Curly Swift / Lific / Tailor Swift / Terrific). They invent a crunchy black that is lonely, and feel the sadness of football boots when they are dirty.

I absolutely loved writing this text - it turned out to be an ode to the imagination of children.

Order a copy here

29 December 2022

AoD Brussels

Archive of Destruction goes to Brussels

I was invited by Christian Mooney of Arcade Gallery to launch the Archive of Destruction Reader in Brussels in December 2022. The display system, pictured here, is by artist Anna Barham.

The Reader is now available to buy at the AA bookshop, Tenderbooks, Presse Books (Forma HQ), Yellow Back Books, and Fruitmarket Gallery. You can also order a copy online from Flat Time House.

21 November 2022


New exhibition

‘Trickster Figures: Sculpture and the Body’ will open at Milton Keynes Gallery in February 2023.

I’m taking a look at the varying, magical ways that contemporary artists are thinking about the body’s newly configured relation to the world - something that involves increasingly fluid movement between binary systems, human forms, animals, identities, and the environment.

Participating artists: Saelia Aparicio | Alice Channer | Jesse Darling | Nicolas Deshayes | Kira Freije | Siobhán Hapaska | Nnena Kalu | Joe Namy | Harold Offeh | Ro Robertson | Vanessa da Silva

“There is a leakage, a seepage in these works. Many of them allude to bodies or systems that relate to bodies. Jealous bodies, broken bodies, fossilised bodies, vulnerable, contaminated bodies. There is also love, tenderness, glamour, and compulsion.”
Jes Fernie

03 November 2022

Death is Free

RCA talk

I’ll be speaking at the forthcoming Curating Contemporary Art and Design: Archives and Collections Intensive at the RCA.

My contribution will consider the status of the Archive of Destruction as a curator-led, self-initiated project, existing beyond an institutional framework. I’ll discuss the playful way in which modes of destruction in the archive have been arranged (fear, love, greed, boredom etc) in order to critique the system of categorisation often employed by museums.

28 September 2022


Writing residency in Ireland

I’ve been invited by Askeaton Contemporary Arts to carry out a research residency in September 2022.

I’ll be talking to artists, visiting artworks, and looking through archives to develop a text on the subject of unseen, abandoned, and unfinished projects, to be published by Daly & Lyon to celebrate five years of practice.

Photo: Lily Van Oost textile work.

03 August 2022

Reader I

Archive of Destruction Reader I launch

I’m very excited to launch the first Archive of Destruction Reader

Tuesday 4 October 2022
6.30 – 8.00pm
Flat Time House

I’ll be saying a few words with Gareth Bell-Jones (Director, FTHo) and Jo Melvin (curator and writer) at 7pm.

The Reader includes conversations, texts, stories, artworks, and pictures by artists, curators and writers, including Joe Namy, Marianne Wagner, Katharina Fritsch, Nicole Eisenman, Kasper König, Britta Peters, Vanessa Onwuemezi, Marysia Lewandowska, Horacio Zabala, Candice Purwin, and Joanna Rajkowska.

This will be an informal affair. Everyone welcome!

25 July 2022

Mona Yoo2

New text for Mona Yoo installation

I was commissioned by Talbot Rice Gallery to write a text on Mona Yoo’s work. I invite audience members to navigate a notional installation by the artist in the Sculpture Court of Edinburgh College of Art.

We’ve been meeting sporadically on zoom over the last couple of years, talking about ghosts, erasure, malleable time, sculpture, and the urban fabric of Edinburgh.

Mona was artist in resident at Talbot Rice Gallery throughout 2020 - 22. The programme is part of the Freelands Artists Programme.

05 June 2022

Rhys Calder

New commission by Rhys Coren

Rhys Coren’s new nine-meter long terrazzo artwork for Hanover Square in London has been unveiled!

It’s called ‘Everyone I’ve Ever Known’ and is Rhys’ first large-scale public commission. It’s an upbeat, joyful contribution to the streets of central London and references Rhys’ longterm interest in music, popular culture, cartoon imagery, and the public realm. In many ways the work is a bit of visual music.

It was commissioned by developers GPE and sits behind the soon-to-be-opened Bond Street Crossrail station near Dering Street.

I’ve been working on it since 2017. It’s insane how long these project take to realise.

Photo: Rhys with the work and his son Calder, 2022

18 May 2022


New teaching role

I’m currently teaching on the BA Culture, Criticism, and Curation course at CSM, covering subjects as broad as gender studies, feminist art practice, exhibition making, Black performance art, and post-internet art.

25 April 2022


Assembly talk

I’ve been working with UP Projects, Flat Time House, and Liverpool Biennial on a programme of online talks about socially-engaged practice.  The next one is on 18 May and we’ll be discussing the ways that these projects can inspire structural change.

The conversation will involve a discussion about the relationship of artists and communities to the structures that shape society. How can the incredible range of knowledge, experience and practice that artists, curators, creative practitioners, and communities bring to these projects be used to challenge existing power structures?

More information here.

Watch a recording of the talk here

Portrait by Robin Silas

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Jes Fernie

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