My practice concerns the self. I use video, projection and performance to probe ideas surrounding body horror: the fine line between pleasure and repulsion. Questions of identity run through my work.
My work is surrounded by concepts addressed by psychoanalysis: oral stage and fetish, dream interpretation and the uncanny, also ideas of abjection from Julia Kristeva’s Powers of Horror. I am also interested in the role voyeurism plays within cinema and deriving pleasure. I am influenced by the artists Bruce Nauman, Mona Hatoum and Paul McCarthy; distorting the familiar body into surreal or grotesque forms, confronting uncleanliness and violence. I aim to distort and defamiliarize the figure until it is reduced to functions and flesh.
My most recent work is my degree show piece entitled Home Sweet Hell– a video piece probing the duality of the home as protection and prison, amplified during the pandemic’s lockdown conditions that the work was created within. It aims to evoke unease with reference horror film and the uncanny: the haunted house. View it here: https://www.meera-solanki.com/degree-show-piece
Tell us about Void 2020
Void has been created by the FACP cohort- in particular a curatorial team of six students which I am one of. We worked as a small team to advertise for and source a developer to build the virtual space we envisioned.
The statement of the show reads: ‘The exhibition Void is a collective space external to the Grad Show. The FACP class of 2020 have hosted a simulation of their practices’ navigation through the COVID-19 pandemic. The space hopes to encapsulate the loss of direction and comfortability in a moment of global reflection and uncertainty.’
How did you find your time at Brighton?
Overall, I enjoyed my time at Brighton studying Fine Art Critical Practice. The course is unique and thought-provoking, urging you to challenge your preconceptions of what art is; how and where people make art. The relatively small cohort size was such a positive for me; being able to work collaboratively with other students and feel immersed in discussions. Tutors were knowledgeable and supportive.
The Fine Art Placement undertaken during L5 was probably my highlight: the project entails either attending a non-art course at the university or shadowing an employee, then creating work responding to the new situation. I shadowed Gary Railton, employed by the University to bring his harris hawk George to deter seagulls from nesting on rooves and stealing food. The experience was incredible and throughout addressed the unconscious mind and dreams- both human and animal, the connections between them and where they overlapped. This project is detailed in more depth on my website where the final outcome is available too.
What are your plans following graduation?
Pre-covid19, my plans following Graduation were to travel to India and Thailand to see my family and have a break after such a hectic year! I had been researching internships within UK-based galleries and I planned to apply for these after returning home to London. However, neither of these ventures are possible now due to the pandemic. I’ve found it difficult to realign my plans as they were what I aspired for all year, although it has become easier with time and knowing it isn’t just me in this situation- everyone has had to adjust and change. I feel unbelievably thankful to have a secure home and family around me. I’m still not sure what comes next, but I feel a lot better equipped to navigate it.