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Josephine Rock – eight months on from the Platform Graduate Award

15th Jul 2019

In advance of announcing the selected artists for the Platform Graduate Award 2019, we caught up with last year’s winning artist Josephine Rock. Josephine is a graduate of the University for the Creative Arts, UCA Farnham, and is currently undertaking an MFA at the Slade School of Fine Art.

“Since winning the Platform Graduate Award in November, I have been hiding away in my studio at the Slade. The space that I have occupied once belonged to Paula Rego, and before that was part of the UCL physiology department, and original site of the ‘Brown Dog Affair’.

“In this controversial case a small brown terrier was subjected to a series of vivisections without anaesthetic before of an audience of medical students. In 1903, one such experiment was infiltrated by a group of Swedish feminists, who spearhead a series of protests against this illegal practice. Escalating discord resulted in nationwide dissension that persisted over seven years and included violent demonstrations, a case of libel and the erection of a statue which was subsequently granted 24 hour police protection.

“I have invited the ghosts of these histories to haunt my artwork; expanding on themes of memorial, protest, pain, histories of medical experimentation, law, autobiography and institutional critique though video and sculptural assemblage. The Platform Graduate Award bursary has assisted with the production costs of these works, and I have benefitted considerably from mentoring with the artist and curator A.R. Hopwood.

I am currently working on an essay film that foregrounds my own experience of childbirth and motherhood as a lens through which to navigate relationships between crowd control, representations of the Virgin Mary, tear gas and medical photography. This film will be shown at the Slade Interim Show in September.

Find out more about Josephine’s work via her website and Instagram.

Image: Cleave, 2019, (film still) 4m 50s © Josephine Rock.


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