Peggy Franck was born in Zevenaar, Netherlands
She studied at Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten
Peggy currently lives and works in Amsterdam
A conversation between Peggy Franck and Amy Leach
Amy Leach: I wanted to start by asking about an image which you mentioned in a piece of writing about the exhibition and which you’ve had with you whilst creating the work in the gallery. What attracted you to this image and how has it influenced the show?
Peggy Franck: The image shows a moment during the process of dying thread. The threads have different colours and stream into the image. Some are wrapped around glass rods that stand in glass jars. It’s the flow in the image created by this process of making that attracted me. Some of the materials depicted became a starting point for the work. I saw a connection between the image and the way I wished to work at OUTPOST.
AL: When I first saw it I was interested in the ambiguity of the image, the fact that it captures something on the way to becoming something else – the process of making, as you say. Over the past weeks you’ve worked in the gallery space, using it like a studio and the process of making seems to linger in the finished work here. How have you approached making the show and resolving the work in the space in which it is created?
PF: I was happy to have the opportunity to do a two-week residency at OUTPOST and develop the works on location in the exhibition space. I brought a lot of materials and objects from the Netherlands without having a fixed idea in mind. I tried to approach it as ‘A household without responsibilities’. I am interested in challenging myself to work ‘freely’. Work developed at points when I was not focusing or when I didn’t expect it. I started with dying some fabrics. During this process I moved a lot of the things around, sometimes with a practical reason, sometimes without clear reasons. This resulted in certain combinations of things and somehow these carried my thoughts or ambitions for sculpture within them.
AL: Looking at the show earlier on I was thinking about the relationship between dying, as a chemical process, and photography.
PF: Yes it made me think of photography as well. It’s kind of like an image developing on the fabric, it has a similar kind of magic to working in the darkroom. But in fact I was more interested in using it as a way of painting that I can’t control so much. I’ve worked with paintings that I kind of ‘found’ before, like ‘A shift in focus’, 2012.
AL: Although you’ve drawn on a scientific or industrial image of dying there is also a domestic edge to the process, which feels emphasized by certain moments and materials in the show, for example the improvised clothes line, ‘The open window’, and the bathtub, ‘A household without responsibilities’. The apparatus of dying. Indeed, the arrival of the bath seemed like a key moment. Could you perhaps speak about this particular work in more detail?
PF: While thinking of the work at OUTPOST and working in the exhibition space a bathtub kept popping up in my thoughts. I was thinking of using it like the glass jars as a barrel for the dying of fabrics. But it also made me think of bathing as a motif in the history of painting. And I liked the ‘plainness’ of the object. I got more and more excited by the idea of having a bathtub in the show. So after a week of working in Norwich I took the decision to acquire one. I used it as a container for materials that I didn’t put in the show and presented it like that.
AL: You’ve described the exhibition as a ‘constellation’. How do you see the relationships between the different groupings of work, the glass jars or the piled flooring and trolley? Are they one whole or separate, interdependent moments?
PF: I tried treating the works as autonomous individuals, to give them space so one could look at them separately, rather than leave the space as a studio or as a total installation. I wanted it to be a clear decision; making works that are on the one hand finished but also deal with the process and the potential they carry inside of them.