Kirsten Reynolds

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Kirsten Reynolds
Born Kirsten Jane Reynolds
(1968-08-27) 27 August 1968 (age 46)
Macclesfield, Cheshire
Nationality British
Notable work(s) Ex Memoria, Danger Matches
Awards Artist of the British Empire,[1]

Kirsten Reynolds is a British artist who makes works using a wide variety of media. She often works with sound and light and uses electronics, video and found objects to make artworks. Her practice also encompasses drawing, painting, sculpture, collage and print-making. Kirsten Reynolds has often worked in collaboration with other artists and musicians, a working method that began when she joined Bow Gamelan Ensemble in 1990 and worked with artist Paul Burwell making and playing scrap metal instruments and drums.

In 1995 Kirsten Reynolds and Ashley Davies formed the 'bleakly titled collaboration'[2][not in citation given] Project Dark an experimental art and music group. Project Dark were invited by writer, musician and curator David Toop to participate in Sonic Boom an international sound art exhibition that took place in 2001 at the Hayward Gallery London.[3]

In her work Reynolds seeks the extraordinary in the everyday, a fascination that can be seen in the work Ex Memoria that takes discarded, old-fashioned standard lamps from the charity shops of her home town of St Leonards-on-Sea and combines them with speakers and control systems enabling the recycled lamps to be 'fitfully engaged in squeaky electronic chatter' according to Robert Sandall.[4]


Kirsten Reynolds was born in Macclesfield, Cheshire in 1968. She gained a BA in Fine Art Sculpture at Kingston Polytechnic (now Kingston University) graduating in 1996. In 1995 Reynolds moved to Limehouse in London's East End and met Paul Burwell who lived and worked in the nearby area of Bow. The week after she graduated she began working with Burwell making sculptural instruments and learning drumming in preparation for a series of performances at Riverside Studios, Hammersmith.[citation needed] Reynolds continued to work with Burwell for many years, and collaborated on a large performance during his residency at the Midlands Arts Centre in 1992.[5][not in citation given]

Through this work she met artist Mark Anderson and Anne Bean who she has worked with on many projects including the ongoing Power Plant events.[citation needed] Power Plant was first commissioned by Oxford Contemporary Music[6] and the University of Oxford Botanic Garden where the first Power Plant event took place in September 2005.

As part of the British Council Power Plant exhibition at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh during the Edinburgh International Festival 2009, Reynolds exhibited a sound installation using old gramaphones.[7]

Kirsten Reynolds has been collaborating with painter Alan Rankle since 2008 and their first major joint exhibition On the Edge of Wrong took place at the Fondazione Stelline, Milan, Italy in February 2010.[8]


After playing with The Bow Gamelan, Kirsten Reynolds went on to join the multiple drummer, multiple bass player band Headbutt. A two-hour rehearsal at The Premises Studios in Hackney, London had the dual function of an audition and rehearsal for a 5-week European tour during which long hours travelling in the group van provided the time and boredom for Kirsten Reynolds and Ashley Davies to create the experimental duo Project Dark.[citation needed] Project Dark operated as an art record label and participated in the group show Groove: Artists and Vinyl at the Huddersfield Art Gallery in 2002.[9]

A live show Excited by Gramophones was presented at the invitation of legendary radio DJ John Peel during his Meltdown 1998 festival at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, London.[10] Reynolds and the DJ tested the limits of health and safety regulations by ending the show with a rocket-propelled record that finally exploded destroying the acrylic lid of the record player.[11]

In 2002 Kirsten Reynolds and Ashley Davies co-founded the art and music label Phono Erotic releasing limited edition records and related artworks.[citation needed] In the same year between Christmas and New Year in a tiny studio in a railway arch in Camden, London Reynolds and Davies recorded an EP entitled Stand Up or Give Up under the moniker Dirthole. Within weeks this duo had become a 10-piece garage punk band with 4 stand-up drummers and had changed its name to The London Dirthole Company.[12]

Curatorial Projects[edit]

In 2006 Kirsten Reynolds began a curatorial collaboration with Line Rosenvinge creating the This is Not a Pen project. Subtitled The Gallery for Your Pocket, the project commissions artists to design a work within the format of the float pen; a tiny space with a single moving part. This is an ongoing series and to date pens have been produced by Mat Collishaw, Peter Callesen, Katherine Ærtebjerg and Danish artist group Paint Over.


  1. ^ Blacksmoke[broken citation]
  2. ^ Neal Brown Sonic Boom Freize issue 54 September–October 2000
  3. ^ Sonic Boom – The Art of Sound, Published by Hayward Gallery, 2000. Forward by David Toop ISBN 1-85332-208-3
  4. ^ Robert Sandall Power Plant in Liverpool The Sunday Times 19 October 2008
  5. ^ David Toop Paul Burwell The Guardian 5 March 2007
  6. ^ Oxford Contemporary Music, Power Plant event, 1–3 September 2005
  7. ^ Charlotte Higgins Edinburgh festival: Artists create a greenhouse of horrors, The Guardian 13 August 2009
  8. ^ Fondazione Stelline, On The Edge of Wrong 11 February – 13 March 2010
  9. ^ Culture 24 Groove: Artists and Vinyl Huddersfield Art Gallery, November 2002
  10. ^ South Bank Centre John Peel’s Meltdown 21 June 1998
  11. ^
  12. ^

External links[edit]