Shauna Mcmullen

Great Britain



The gradual loss of a sense of place and the disorientation, which arises as a consequence, are among the factors which have created an obsession with topography, urban plans and the printed word, within my work.

I am interested in the translation of objects associated with placement, stability, control and power, into works, which although still recognizable, become fragile and vulnerable.

A lot of my work has been made in an effort to see behind the structures we use in an attempt to locate ourselves. As a result I spend weeks and months cutting things up- renovating, dismembering, and re-presenting materials such as street maps, newspapers and postcards. It’s a kind of interrogation of, or revenge over objects, which have the supposed responsibility of locating and informing us. I cut away the information they were originally intended for and use the fragility of what remains as the work.

With maps I have cut the entire landmass from between the road systems leaving thousands of pieces of roads and eliminating the potential for orientation or placement. I have cut away every word and image from local newspapers leaving precious filigree structures you can only look through. I have cut the sky from thousands of postcards and suspended them just above head height. There is no evidence where the skies have come from, other than the fact that they are from postcards and it is up to the viewer to project an idea of the place onto/into work. The fragmentation of the sky and the obvious fragility of this installation with all of my installations communicate a vulnerable notion of a place, which runs through the work.

The experience of being in VASL, Gadani, Karachi, Pakistan has compounded these concerns within my work. As well as allowing me the time and space to look at and think about my previous work, it also gave me the opportunity of experimenting with new ways of working. The nature of the workshop and the length of time you had to work in meant you had to be instinctive and spontaneous in your method of working. These experiences of responding and working in new ways have continued to develop after the event. The location of the guesthouse with its close proximity to the ship breaking area had a very profound influence on the work I made during the workshop and continues to affect my work even now.

This site or location couldn’t have been more challenging and stimulating and still remains a source of great stimulus. As well as the location being memorable, the conversations, which took place between the artists and the local people and the relationships that developed, remain inspirational. It’s difficult to imagine how three weeks could have affected and changed so much- my work, my ideas, my appreciation and understanding of life and art and ultimately my life. To conclude after those three weeks in Gadani I can no longer look at life the way I had been- how exciting is that?????

Very exciting. Thanks for inviting me to be part of such a wonderful, challenging, stimulating and inspirational experience.


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