145. Marion Coutts
Marion Coutts, False Acacia Aurea (installation view), 2017. Iodine on digital print; 50 x 39 cm. Edition of 10 + 2 AP. Photograph: Cameron Leadbetter.

Marion Coutts talks to Traction about her current solo exhibition at Tintype, London. An artist and writer, Coutts published her memoir, ‘The Iceberg’ in 2014. For ‘Aiming or Hitting’, Coutts presents an installation combining sculpture, photographs, text and - for the first time - drawings. 

 

The wall-based works in ‘Aiming or Hitting’ are presented in relation to a set of black strip-curtains running the length of the gallery. What is the relationship between these two elements? 

The black strips make a space for images to operate against: above, below, in front, behind. I want to test out further what the curtain can do. I imagine doing a show where the curtain is installed as the only element.

You are a writer and artist. How do these two roles play out in your practice?

I’m not sure yet. My book – ‘The Iceberg’ – came out in 2014. It was written during a period when I was not making any artworks. Now I have made some artworks and am finding it hard to write anything. The two seem mutually exclusive at the moment. I expect that won’t last forever.

Marion Coutts, Installation view – works on paper, 2017. Photograph: Cameron Leadbetter.

This is the first time you have shown your drawings. How do these works relate back to the body of photography?

Photography is new to me so I am working it out. I think of them as images more than photographs, though they are generated photographically in various ways.

Photography is new to me so I am working it out. I think of them as images more than photographs, though they are generated photographically in various ways. I always saw drawing as part of a thinking process, rather than an end in itself, but because I was having to think about paper as material in making digital prints – taking up ink in radically different ways - I started to think more about paper generally and what I might draw on. So rather than using what was lying about the studio – generally junk - this led to trying new papers and new material to draw with and that grew into more drawings. The drawings are only a small part of the show but I quite like them there.

Marion Coutts, Aiming or Hitting, 2017. Installation view. Photograph: Cameron Leadbetter.

Is there a particular artist or writer who has been influential in your work?

I’m interested in what happens in the encounter with an artwork that moves you.

In this show particularly, I was thinking of the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres. I worked on the Gonzalez-Torres show at the Serpentine in 2000, which was his first major exhibition in the UK and I have strong memories of it. The work was formal, sculptural and intimate. I’m interested in what happens in the encounter with an artwork that moves you and I made some work based on one of his posters. In the show there is also a work called ‘Boy Looks at Rock on Top of Another Rock’, an image of a boy looking at a sculpture by Fischli and Weiss.

Marion Coutts, Boy Looks At Rock on Top of Another Rock (installation view), 2017. Archival pigment print; 44 x 34.5 cm. Edition of 10 + 1 AP. Photograph: Cameron Leadbetter.

What is coming up next for you?

I am working on more images. I am going to learn more about cameras. I am going to do more writing.


Marion Coutts’ solo exhibition ’Aiming or Hitting’ continues at Tintype, London, N1 2SL until 13 April 2017. For more information, visit http://www.tintypegallery.com.

For more on Marion Coutts’ work, visit http://www.marioncoutts.com.