Jo Addison lives and works in London.
She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and NSAD.
She is currently a visiting lecturer at the University
of the Arts London, Kingston University and RCA.
Upon entering, the viewer first encounters a multifaceted grey rock-form crouching before a differingly scaled picnicing cave recessed into the OUTPOST wall. a perfect cardboard sheet stained with a black patch and tiny lighting, and a wall mounted semi-circular night scene with supermarket signage completes the room.
Lawrence Bradby: Most of your pieces are quite small Jo, but they exert their influence over far more of the gallery than the bit they actually occupy. Could you describe how that works?
Jo Addison: Each piece is an extract from a larger place. First you see them from a distance, and then you have to travel across the space towards them for the details to become clear. I like to think that once you get there they render your body a bit clumsy. It becomes cumbersome in relation to them - just a mechanism for getting you there and holding your head and eyes in the right place.
LB: So, if I've understood it right, you see the miniaturised scale working both as a lure to bring you closer, and then, once you've approached, the scale makes you feel uneasy, not quite at home in yourself. Miniaturised things like dolls houses and train sets are intrinsically reassuring; what do you think makes your pieces unsettling?
JA: The things you have mentioned are faithful, detailed replicas of the original. In contrast, I've given spare attention to detail and used materials economically. The workings are exposed and parts of the objects are incomplete. They're not absolute, precise descriptions but indications of places that are at once inviting and indifferent, intimate and generic. If I were to describe such places through more faithful modelling of finer materials there would be less room to recall your own encounters with them.
LB: Two of your pieces in the show use small light bulbs surrounded by an area of black paint. For me the surrounding blackness suggests that I've glimpsed one of these 'intimate and generic' places in passing, in the night, out of the window of a train or a car. Or that the spreading blackness is a shared cultural memory where these generic places are stored.
JA: Yes, I like the way you've described it as a sort of bank of those memories. The blackness is metaphorical and physical: a very immediate, almost childish description of night and the way it deletes other features.
LB: Like the barn you mean, because I still can't see it.
JA: 'The most photographed barn in America' features in Don Dellilo's White Noise . The building is caught in a kind of loop - the naming of it prescribes one's experience of it, which, in turn, enhances its name. Similarly, the places I've described are designed and named so as to be experienced in a very particular way. They're not always encountered as 'real' places but unspectacular stops along the way.