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Karen Piddington


Born in London, I grew up in inner-city areas of the capital and was influenced by its socio-political climate, when the politics of identity were prominent in, for example, the punk movement. These experiences still resonate and bleed through to my artwork.

My recent work is closely bound up in the notion of ‘becoming-animal’, a concept devised by philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari (A Thousand Plateaus). It presents us with an alternative way of thinking about identity – with the potential to lead us far from being human. 

My practice is concerned with magnifying and manipulating the awkward conjunctions and contradictions of 21st century living, often involving people and animals.  Similarities are exaggerated and juxtaposed to create a paradoxical scene.  I use ambiguity, absurdity and humour to test boundaries and to question ways in which we relate to other species and to re-present definitions of humanness. My work is not necessarily about animals – instead I use them as a prism through which to look at humanness. Employing both a playful and a serious intent, my aim is to sweep the viewer off into the unfamiliar.  

I work with materials for their properties, versatility and sustainability. My practice is varied; I draw, paint and make sculptures, installations and videos; I make props and use everyday objects in video performance, constructing scenes for use in my films and photographs.  My approach is fluid and I follow paths that emerge during the process of experimentation.



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