Quilla Constance

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Quilla Constance
Quilla Constance at 198 Contemporary Arts, 2015.jpg
Quilla Constance performing at 198 Contemporary Arts, 2015
Born Jennifer Allen
1980 (age 37–38)
Birmingham, West Midlands, England

Quilla Constance, is the creation of English artist, lecturer and curator, Jennifer Allen, born in Birmingham 1980.


Quilla Constance, aka Jennifer Allen, graduated from The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art , St John's College, University of Oxford, with a BA (Hons) Fine Art in 2001[1][2][3] and earned an MFA from Goldsmith's College, University of London in 2006.[4][5]


It has been proposed that 'QC over-identifies with an 'exotic' militant punk persona to interrogate category-driven capitalist networks, through staging and virally inserting her artistic practice within pop culture, traversing music venues, forging protests and entering art galleries in order to emulate and interrupt the operations of these cultural zones'.[6] Quilla Constance stages interventions across an interdisciplinary practice of paintings, lectures, photographs, live performances, costumes and music videos. Her live performance work has been noted for its 'unflinching physical narrative performed entirely through breath, posture and non-verbal sounds: panting like a dog, sex noises, then laughter, pure guttural anger, and back again'.[7][8]


Allen's video and performance works have exhibited internationally since 2001 and are held in the art collections of Anita and Poju Zabludowicz[9], David Roberts' Art Foundation,[10] and Goldsmith's College (Warden's).

In 2003 Allen was awarded British and Arts Council funding for her solo exhibition and artist's residency at BizArt Center, Shanghai, China through the ARTLINKART International Residency Programme.[11]

In 2007 Allen guest curated a video screening at 176 London, Zabludowicz Collection.[12] The event featured Allen's 2006 video work Happy Christmas Mom & Dad, a piece that sees Allen allegedly perform a seductive dance as a gift for her parents on Christmas Day. It was subsequently reviewed by Jane Neal for Saatchi Online[13] The screening at Zabludowicz Collection also included video works by Peter Land the Visual Artist, Pipilotti Rist , Gilbert & George , and Carolee Schneemann.

Shortly after completing her master's degree at Goldsmiths, Allen created her Quilla Constance persona as an extension of the exoticized, androgynous punk-carnival aesthetic and malevolent demeanour explored in her earlier video and performance works and 'to locate a point of agency within a hegemonic framework of white phallocentric order'.[14] Allen (as Quilla Constance) subsequently began staging performances in clubs, theatres, music venues and the street.

In 2011 she was spotted by 80s pioneers of synth-pop and New Romanticism, Rusty Egan and Steve Strange, who invited her to perform at a reunion in the former Soho Blitz Club.[15] Later that year she performed at Fierce! Festival, Birmingham alongside Cakes da Killa.[16]

Quilla Constance has given performative lectures, exhibited paintings and screened her videos in galleries such as the Freud Museum, London,[17][18] The Institute of Contemporary Arts,[19]Camden Arts Centre (Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2001),[20] Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art,[21] the Standpoint Gallery,[22] Nerd Nite London.[23] Toynbee Hall[24][25],The Museum of Contemporary Art London / MOCA, London [26], St John's College, Oxford [27], Autograph ABP [28] and The Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy Schools where she is also a visiting tutor[29] Allen has also taught at Middlesex University[30] and is an Associate Lecturer at Camberwell College of Arts UAL [31] [32]

In 2010, Quilla Constance staged a 'militant punk protest performance' outside the former Punk Soho nightclub in order to challenge the venue for cancelling a QC punk performance in favour of a corporate booking. She later successfully prosecuted the club's promoter through Equity.[33][34]

In 2015, 2016 and 2017 Allen was awarded funding from Arts Council England [35] in support of a series of solo exhibitions: 'Transcending The Signified' at The Museum of Contemporary Art/ MOCA, London[36], which toured to The Old Fire Station Gallery, Oxford/ OFS Studio [37]; 'Hashtag QC' at The Kendrew Barn, St John's College, Oxford [38] [39] and 'PUKIJAM' at 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, curated by Maria Kheirkhah. PUKIJAM received additional support from The Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN); and Diversity Arts Forum [40] In December 2017 the artworks of Quilla Constance 'QC' were a subject for academic discussion and new research at Van Abbemuseum Netherlands as part of the conference 'Black Artists and Modernism: Conceptualism - Intersectional Readings, International Framings' [41] Guest speakers included Dr Alexandra Kokoli[42], Prof Sonia Boyce, Prof Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes (among others). In February 2018 Quilla Constance was selected by Bedford Creative Arts and live art organisation Artichoke to lead women's art workshops in Bedford, and commissioned to produce a banner artwork with women of Bedfordshire to honour the suffragettes and the suffragists, and celebrate the centenary of women's right to vote. The banner featured in a major London procession held on June 10th 2018. In her statement to The Daily Mail Quilla Constance said of the Suffragettes "They were really quite anarchic...They had to really fight. And we still have to fight...I think they're here today in spirit, and we're giving them high fives" [43] [44] [45] [46] [47]

198 Contemporary Arts and Learning was the first gallery to screen Allen's arts council-commissioned video piece, PUKIJAM, which sees Allen (as Quilla Constance) 'perform a dystopian golliwog cakewalk, accompanied and interrupted by a montage of erotic media images, figurative objects and Allen's mutant, sub-linguistic scat vocal set against a relentless electronic throb'. The exhibition also featured vibrant 'exotic' costumes adorning large, acrylic paint on canvas abstractions. 'These conspired with video works, inviting the viewer into a dialogue through which notions of cultural authenticity and the production of meaning were visibly contested'.[48]

In July 2015 Quilla Constance was invited to screen PUKIJAM in the Kendrew Barn Gallery, St John's College, Oxford[49][50] for The 2000 Women Big Party.[51] The event was held in celebration of the matriculation of the 2000th female to read for a degree at St John's College Oxford, and the appointment of Margaret Snowling, the first female president of the college in 450 years. St John's College, Oxford was an all-male college until 1979.

Quilla Constance has written articles for Transition Gallery (Garageland magazine) and The Rebel.[52] She also writes a quarterly punk-art gossip column, 'Quilla's Constant Catch-Up' for La Bouche Zine.


  • 2015 '(Dis) identifications: Gender as Material' (symposium and screening), Institute of Contemporary Arts, London[53]
  • 2015 'PUKIJAM' (solo exhibition) 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning[54]
  • 2014 'Performance Art: Love, Lust and Longing' (lecture and group exhibition), The Freud Museum, London[55]
  • 2008 'Jennifer Allen presents Sexual Visionaries.... Love, Hate, Narcissism, Mortality, Fetish and Taboo' (curated project) 176 London Zabludowicz Collection[56]
  • 2007 'Dark Glasses' (group exhibition) The Standpoint Gallery, London[57]
  • 2007 'The Dream of Putrefaction' (group exhibition) Fieldgate Gallery, London[58]
  • 2006 'Goods To Declare MFA International' (group exhibition) Airport Terminal 1, Tel-Aviv, Israel[59]
  • 2003 'SKINS Revisited' (solo exhibition and artists' residency) BizArt Center, Shanghai, Chinä: ARTLINKART International Residency Programme[60]
  • 2001 'Bloomberg New Contemporaries' (group exhibition) Camden Arts Centre


  • 2015 Garageland art, culture and ideas 'SEX' edition No. 18 (pages 15–19) 'Freud and Eros: Love, Lust, Longing and The Oedipus Complex: Jennifer Allen aka Quilla Constance visits The Freud Museum' edition #18 (pages 15–19)
  • 2012 Equity magazine, spring 2012, page 11[61]
  • 2010 The Rebel 'Q&A With Quilla Constance'[62]
  • 2008 Saatchi Online 'Emerging Artist of The Week' Saatchi Art Online Magazine -[63]
  • 2001 Bloomberg New Contemporaries Catalogue


  1. ^ "Symposium: (Dis) identifications". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  2. ^ "Big Party Programme – Sessions". Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "Quilla Constance St John's College Oxford". Retrieved 23 April 2016. 
  4. ^ "Quilla Constance This is Goldsmiths". Retrieved 23 April 2016. 
  5. ^ "A Selection of Goldsmiths MFA Alumni" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  6. ^ "Symposium: (Dis) identifications". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "Megan Vaughan: Edinburgh is like a black hole for theatre". Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  8. ^ "Performance artist Quilla Constance challenges taboo at St John's College Oxford". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  9. ^ "Jennifer Allen Presents". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  10. ^ "David Roberts Art Foundation collections)". Retrieved 5 September 2015. 
  11. ^ "JENNIFER ALLEN (solo)". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  12. ^ "Jennifer Allen Presents". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  13. ^ "Emerging Artist of the Week: Jennifer Allen". Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  14. ^ "PUKIJAM Jennifer Allen aka Quilla Constance – Deconstructing identities – An afternoon symposium". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  15. ^ "Shapers of The 80s". 
  16. ^ "Fierce Festival 2013: Launch!!! Friday 4 October". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  17. ^ "Performance Art: Love, Lust and Longing". 
  18. ^ "performing the unconscious". 
  19. ^ "Symposium: (Dis) identifications". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  20. ^ "Jennifer Allen". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  21. ^ "BLOOMBERG NEW CONTEMPORARIES 2001" (PDF). Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  22. ^ "DARK GLASSES". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  23. ^ "Nerd Nite Lecture". Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  24. ^ "Megan Vaughan: Edinburgh is like a black hole for theatre". Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  25. ^ "Quilla Constance: Quilla Constance: #QC_Symposium Artsadmin". Retrieved 6 April 2016. 
  26. ^ "Quilla Constance: Transcending-The-Signified-MOCA-London". Retrieved 1 August 2017. 
  27. ^ "Quilla Constance St John's College Oxford". Retrieved 23 April 2016. 
  28. ^ "The Mothering Blackness Conference". Retrieved 9 Sep 2017. 
  29. ^ "Royal Academy Schools Prospectus" (PDF). Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  30. ^ "Quilla Constance: Quilla Constance Dis-identifications Symposium Middlesex University". Retrieved 24 April 2016. 
  31. ^ "Quilla Constance: Quilla Constance-Transcending-The-Signified-Symposium". Retrieved 1 August 2017. 
  32. ^ http://www.arts.ac.uk/camberwell/people/fine-art-undergraduate-staff/quilla-constance/. Retrieved 4 November 2017.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  33. ^ "Equity magazine Spring 2012". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  34. ^ "in-pictures-quilla-contance-protest-performance-outside-punk-soho". Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  35. ^ "Lottery Grants Search". Retrieved 9 Sep 2017. 
  36. ^ "Quilla Constance: Transcending-The-Signified-MOCA-London". Retrieved 1 August 2017. 
  37. ^ "Quilla Constance: Transcending-The-Signified-OFS Oxford". Retrieved 9 September 2017. 
  38. ^ "Quilla Constance St John's College Oxford". Retrieved 23 April 2016. 
  39. ^ "Quilla Constance St John's College Oxford" (PDF). Retrieved 9 Sep 2017. 
  40. ^ "PUKIJAM". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  41. ^ "Dr Alexandra Kokoli 'Read My QR: Quilla Constance and the Conceptualist Promise of Intelligibility'". Retrieved 17 December 2017. 
  42. ^ "Dr Alexandra Kokoli Middlesex University". Retrieved 17 December 2017. 
  43. ^ "100-years-voting-women-Britain-celebrate-suffragettes". Retrieved 11 June 2018. 
  44. ^ "bedford-women-create-banner-for-celebration-of-suffrage-centenary". Retrieved 11 June 2018. 
  45. ^ "women-take-part-in-the-processions-living-artwork-in-the-uk". Retrieved 11 June 2018. 
  46. ^ "DIY-Suffragettes-Marching-for-Equality". Retrieved 16 June 2018. 
  47. ^ "UK-Women-Suffrage". Retrieved 16 June 2018. 
  48. ^ "This is Goldsmiths: Six things to do this week". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  49. ^ "Big Party Programme – Sessions". Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  50. ^ "The Oxford Times: Performance Artist Quilla Constance Challenges Taboo at St John's College Oxford". Retrieved 6 April 2016. 
  51. ^ "The Big Party St John's College Oxford". Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  52. ^ "Q & A with Quilla Constance". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  53. ^ "Symposium: (Dis) identifications". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  54. ^ "PUKIJAM". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  55. ^ "Performance Art: Love, Lust and Longing". 
  56. ^ "Jennifer Allen Presents". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  57. ^ "DARK GLASSES". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  58. ^ "The Dream of Putrefaction – curated by Dereck Harris". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  59. ^ "Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design Jerusalem presents Goods to Declare – MFA Internat". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  60. ^ "JENNIFER ALLEN (solo)". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  61. ^ "Equity magazine Spring 2012". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  62. ^ "Q & A with Quilla Constance". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  63. ^ "Emerging Artist of the Week: Jennifer Allen". Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 

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