Working across diverse media ranging from performance and video work to written publications, Whitebread investigates breaks down and reimagines utopian futures as proposed by architects, social policy makers, technologists and scientists. Her starting point is how visionary ideas are formalised and presented in dogmatic discourse that canonises particular historic moments. She renegotiates these reductive archives to re-imagine the potentialities contained within the original ideas.
Smooth and Rough (2017) is a performative stream of consciousness, a mixture of reminiscence and evasion, an all embracing impulse, a surveying and mapping of something yet to come. A manifestation of writings about my tongue and my experience of returning to Margate - the town where I grew up. The work was performed by Anna Symes at The Well exhibtion curated by Cédric Fauq.
Coming Home (2016) acts as a post-mortem confessional from an avatar of John Betjeman. The piece explores the historical and cultural impact of Betjeman's ‘Shell Guides to English Counties’ on our 21st Century concept of nationhood. The piece is a confessional from Betjeman himself, mixing coherent ideology with false memories and mute arguments.
Cosmic Tissue (2014), evolved from an interest in paper architecture inspired by Georgii Krutikov’s Flying City project. In this work trapeze artists perform simple balancing tricks defying gravity to reveal the utopian impulses that reside in unsuspected places.
Whitebread’s process is complex and cyclical using writing as a foundation, and an artistic tool with which to develop strategies for her projects. Her work in archives is both independent of and generative for her practice; ideas depart from and return to her research visually constituting this loop. Mixing reality with fiction she examines the complex and unexpected realities that arise. Collaborating with diverse groups, from acrobats to physicists, is for Whitebread a method to propel unexpected narratives. The resulting work is often a playful proposition or perspective on the world, drawn from diverse sources. A sense of absurdity and a wry sense of humour often surface, as do underlying sharp political agendas.
Whitebread has a MA in ArtScience, Royal Academy Den Haag 2014 and a BA in Fine Art and Art History, Goldsmtihs 2009. She has just finished a year long residency at the Florence Trust in London and has exhibited work both nationally and internationally, and participated in residencies in the UK and The Netherlands. Highlights of her artistic career included South London Gallery, Bold Tendencies, Chisenhale Gallery, Whitstable Biennale and TENT Rotterdam.
SOPHIA, Cécile B. Evans, Celia Hempton & Emily Whitebread, her-gallery (London, UK), 21st April - 19th May 2018
Organiser at Well Projects an artist-led organisation that operates as a flexible events space and supports a public programme. Inhabiting a small shop-front in Margate, Well Projects looks to the water well for direction, as an interstice in a location, as a reservoir and as a place to gather. Well Projects works with artists and practitioners to present a varied programme of reading groups, film screenings, performances, workshops and exhibitions.
Despacito Art School is run by art tutors Heather Tait and myself, together with OSE Associates Coral Brookes, Katie Fiore, Una Hamilton Helle and Sarah Karen. It is a hands-on place to learn about art, craft and functional object-making. Despacito is open to young people aged 7 to 12, who live in and around Cliftonville West.