Can you tell me a little bit about you?
My name is Harley Kuyck-Cohen and I’m currently based in Newcaslte-upon-Tyne. Previously I was artist in residence at Airspace Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, where I recently had my first solo exhibition, ‘Allotment’. Before that, I studied my BA at the Slade School of Art, for which community I will always miss!
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
I always grew up with my mother encouraging craft in play, experimenting with materials and making new scenarios and worlds.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
Often what I’m exploring is the crossing borders between our private and public domestic lives. Addressing the body politic of space and material that comes from that. A current development I’m very excited about is that since I’ve been artist in residence at Airspace Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent, I’ve been not just making sculptures that sit on figures, but I’m now starting to create the figures themselves, making creatures that you encounter.
What is your process like?
Works can grow over months… they stay in the studio until I decide on how it will grow. This bricolage process I think is important, it relates to entropy – how time affects design.
Is there any subject or theme you’ve been particularly interested in lately?
Some serious influences of mine are Cathy Wilkes, Thomas Schutte, Mark Manders, Marisa Merz, Kippenberger, Rachel Harrison, Lin May Saeed, Enrico David, Ed Keinholz and Isa Genzken.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
“You haven’t spent enough time with it” – Bernard Cohen (my Great Uncle)
What does it mean to you to have a “community?”
A community is a shared moment or value, it doesn’t demand one place or a site, architecture works subconsciously.
What is your studio like?
An absolute mess.
Are you involved in any collaborative or self-organized projects?
During the summer, I was working with artists Kara Chin, Tomasz Kowalski, Milan Tarascas and Ellie Wang on OPOLIS – a collaborative making group that was exploring how you can share a studio, making work about cityspace and food production. At some point this year, I’d like to curate an exhibition of works from my friend and painter Richard Magee.
What are you working on right now?
Having just moved to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, I’m currently having some time to reflect on my show. Having had a studio since graduating, I’m now looking to resolve everything I’ve done since. In September, I’ll be exhibiting with Lungley Gallery (London).