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 40–41)
Birmingham, West Midlands, England

Jennifer Allen, known professionally as Quilla Constance, is a British contemporary interdisciplinary artist and lecturer,[1] born in Birmingham, 1980.

Education[edit]

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[2][3][4] and earned an MFA from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2006.[5][6] She later studied acting at Rose Bruford College[7]

Persona and style[edit]

Shortly after completing her master's degree, Allen created her Quilla Constance persona as an extension of the exoticised, 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".[8] Constance subsequently began staging performances in clubs, theatres, art galleries, music venues and the street.

Quilla Constance (abbreviated to QC) 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".[9][10]

Other commentaries suggest 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".[11][12][13][14]

QC’s varied art practice also frequently ‘scrutinises food as a signifying system onto which social class and ethnic identities are mapped out, from fried chicken in cardboard take¬away boxes to tea in fine, bone china cups.’ where she questions the limitations of categories, boundaries, and contexts to humorous and destabilising effect. [15][16][17][18][19]

Career[edit]

Allen's video and performance works have been exhibited internationally since 2003 and are held in the art collections of Anita and Poju Zabludowicz,[20] David Roberts' Art Foundation,[21] 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.[22]

In 2007, Allen guest curated a video screening at 176 London, Zabludowicz Collection.[23] 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.[24][25][26]

In an interview with arts patron Shalini Passi, Constance stated that "My current professional name is Quilla Constance ... which is an art persona I’ve cultivated and deployed since 2009. My birth name is Jennifer Allen, and the name I operated under from 2001-2009"[27]

In 2010, Constance staged a 'militant punk protest performance' outside the former Punk Soho nightclub in order to challenge the venue for cancelling a Quilla Constance punk performance in favour of a corporate booking. She later successfully prosecuted the club's promoter through Equity.[28][29][30]

In 2011, the 80s synth-pop and New Romanticism artists Rusty Egan and Steve Strange invited Constance to perform at a reunion in the former Soho Blitz Club.[31] Later that year, she performed at Fierce! Festival, Birmingham alongside Cakes da Killa.[32]

In 2015,[33] 2017[34] and 2019 [35] Allen was awarded funding from Arts Council England in support of a series of Quilla Constance solo projects and exhibitions: 'Teasing Out Contingencies: Quilla Constance Open Studio' at Tate Modern, Tate Exchange 'Transcending The Signified' at The Museum of Contemporary Art/ MOCA, London,[36] which toured to The Old Fire Station Gallery, Oxford/ OFS Studio;[37] '#QC' at The Kendrew Barn, St John's College, Oxford[38][39][40][41] 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 [42] In December 2017 Allen's artworks was discussed in a paper presented at the conference 'Black Artists and Modernism: Conceptualism - Intersectional Readings, International Framings' held at Van Abbemuseum in the Netherlands.[43][44][45]

In February 2018, Constance was selected by Bedford Creative Arts and live art organisation Artichoke (company) 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 PROCESSIONS (artwork) held on 10 June 2018. In a statement to The New York Times, 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" [46][47][48][49][50][51]

198 Contemporary Arts and Learning was the first gallery to screen Constance's arts council-commissioned video piece, PUKIJAM, which sees her 'perform a dystopian golliwog cakewalk, accompanied and interrupted by a montage of erotic media images, figurative objects and her 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'.[52]

In July 2015, Constance was invited to screen her performance art video, PUKIJAM in the Kendrew Barn Gallery, St John's College, Oxford[53] [54] for The 2000 Women Big Party. 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.

Constance has written articles for Transition Gallery (Garageland magazine) and The Rebel.[55] She also writes a quarterly punk-art gossip column, 'Quilla's Constant Catch-Up' for La Bouche Zine.

Television[edit]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Quilla Constance gave a special guest performance on the docuseries Rob & Romesh VS (Art) on Sky One, where she invited presenter-comedians Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan to experiment with performance art in her studio. Here she offered up "Hoops in Flutes" and "High Tea in PPE"[56] The episode also featured Constance's single and video PR BLITZ, described in The Guardian as "Brilliantly deranged punk where Constance sings salacious tabloid headlines against a junkyard backdrop"[57]

During tier 2 lockdown, Constance also featured in 'How Limits Can Boost Your Creativity' for BBC IDEAS [58] where she makes reference to her admiration for artist Faith Ringgold, and the positive activation of her own biracial, working class female identity within the historically sexist and elitist contemporary art world [59]

Artworks[edit]

  • 2006 'Happy Christmas Mom & Dad' Performance/Video Artwork[60][61]
  • 2016 'Pukijam' Performance/Video Artwork[62][63]
  • 2016 '#QC_001' Performance/Video Artwork [64][65]
  • 2017 'Celsnakar' Painting [66]
  • 2017 'Transcending The Signified' Quilla Constance live performance, MOCA London [67]

Selected Exhibitions[edit]

  • 2019 'Teasing out Contingencies' Open Studio, Tate Exchange, Tate Modern[68]
  • 2017 'Transcending the Signified', MOCA London [69]
  • 2017 'Transcending the Signified', Old Fire Station Gallery OFS Studio [70]
  • 2015 'Pukijam', 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning[71]
  • 2015 '(Dis) identifications: Gender as Material' (symposium and screening), Institute of Contemporary Arts, London[72]
  • 2015 'PUKIJAM' (solo exhibition) 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning[73]
  • 2014 'Performance Art: Love, Lust and Longing' (lecture and group exhibition), The Freud Museum, London[74]
  • 2008 'Jennifer Allen presents Sexual Visionaries.... Love, Hate, Narcissism, Mortality, Fetish and Taboo' (curated project) 176 London Zabludowicz Collection[75]
  • 2007 'Dark Glasses' (group exhibition) The Standpoint Gallery, London[76]
  • 2007 'The Dream of Putrefaction' (group exhibition) Fieldgate Gallery, London[77]
  • 2006 'Goods To Declare MFA International' (group exhibition) Airport Terminal 1, Tel-Aviv, Israel[78]
  • 2003 'SKINS Revisited' (solo exhibition and artists' residency) BizArt Center, Shanghai, Chinä: ARTLINKART International Residency Programme[79]
  • 2001 'Bloomberg New Contemporaries' (group exhibition) Camden Arts Centre

Publications[edit]

  • 2019 A Companion to Feminist Art, Hilary Robinson (editor), Maria Elena Buszek (editor)-Blackwell Wiley [80] ISBN 9781118929155 [81]
  • 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
  • 2010 The Rebel 'Q&A With Quilla Constance'[82]
  • 2008 Saatchi Online 'Emerging Artist of The Week' Saatchi Art Online Magazine -[83]
  • 2001 Bloomberg New Contemporaries Catalogue

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Quilla Constance: Fine Art Contextual Studies Associate Lecturer, UAL". Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  2. ^ "Symposium: (Dis) identifications". Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  3. ^ "QC: An Alternative Identity (page 4)" (PDF). Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  4. ^ "Alumna Quilla Constance St John's College Oxford". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Quilla Constance This is Goldsmiths". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  6. ^ "Quilla Constance Goldsmiths MFA Alumni page 5" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Quilla Constance Graduate Success Rose Bruford Prospectus, page 60" (PDF). Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  8. ^ "Jennifer Allen PUKIJAM – 198 Contemporary Arts". Retrieved 17 February 2021.
  9. ^ "CONFESSIONS:Making a Performance of Yourself - Jerwood Arts". Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Performance artist Quilla Constance challenges taboo at St John's College Oxford". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  11. ^ "Symposium: (Dis) identifications". Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  12. ^ "Camberwell College of Arts People". Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  13. ^ "Quilla Constance Pukijam 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning". Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  14. ^ A Companion to Feminist Art- Google Books, Pages 133-135. Wiley Blackwell. 23 July 2019. ISBN 9781118929193. Retrieved 17 February 2021.
  15. ^ "Page 26, Read My QR:Quilla Constance and the Conceptualist Promise of Intelligibility" (PDF).
  16. ^ "Read My QR: Quilla Constance and the Conceptualist Promise of Intelligibility". Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  17. ^ "A Companion to Feminist Art, Wiley-Blackwell, page 133-135". Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  18. ^ "Revisiting The Gaze, Bloomsbury, page 6". Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  19. ^ "Conceptualism - Intersectional Readings, International Framings, Situating Black Artists and Modernism in Europe. Full text pages 35 - 51 Read my QR: Quilla Constance and the Conceptualist Promise of Intelligibility" (PDF). Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  20. ^ "Jennifer Allen Presents". Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  21. ^ "David Roberts Art Foundation collections)". Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  22. ^ "JENNIFER ALLEN (solo)". Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  23. ^ "Jennifer Allen Presents". Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  24. ^ "Emerging Artist of the Week: Jennifer Allen". Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  25. ^ "Read My QR: Quilla Constance and the Conceptualist Promise of Intelligibility Page 36 - 53" (PDF). Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  26. ^ "Read My QR: Quilla Constance and the Conceptualist Promise of Intelligibility". Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  27. ^ "Shalini Passi In Conversation with Quilla Constance: MASH India". Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  28. ^ "Page 6,Equity magazine Spring 2012". Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  29. ^ "in-pictures-quilla-contance-protest-performance-outside-punk-soho". Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  30. ^ "equity-called-over-punk-double-booking-quilla-constance-stage-street-protest-over-gig". Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  31. ^ "Shapers of The 80s".
  32. ^ "Fierce Festival 2013: Launch!!! Friday 4 October". Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  33. ^ "Jennifer Allen 2015 Lottery Grant". Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  34. ^ "Jennifer Allen 2017 Lottery Grant". Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  35. ^ "Whats On Tate Modern, Tate Exchange". Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  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 September 2017.
  40. ^ "Artist Quilla Constance Challenges Taboo at St Johns College Oxford". Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  41. ^ "Review:QC". Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  42. ^ "PUKIJAM". Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  43. ^ "Dr Alexandra Kokoli 'Read My QR: Quilla Constance and the Conceptualist Promise of Intelligibility'". Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  44. ^ "Page 25, Read My QR:Quilla Constance and the Conceptualist Promise of Intelligibility" (PDF).
  45. ^ "Read My QR: Quilla Constance and the Conceptualist Promise of Intelligibility". Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  46. ^ "UK Women Celebrate 100 Years of Voting Rights". Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  47. ^ "Suffragette cities: Centenary of women's vote marked in UK". AP. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  48. ^ "bedford-women-create-banner-for-celebration-of-suffrage-centenary". Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  49. ^ "women-take-part-in-the-processions-living-artwork-in-the-uk". Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  50. ^ "DIY-Suffragettes-Marching-for-Equality". Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  51. ^ "UK-Women-Suffrage". Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  52. ^ "This is Goldsmiths: Six things to do this week". Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  53. ^ "QC: An Alternative Identity (page 4)" (PDF). Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  54. ^ "The Oxford Times: Performance Artist Quilla Constance Challenges Taboo at St John's College Oxford". Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  55. ^ "Q & A with Quilla Constance". Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  56. ^ "British Comedy Guide Rob & Romesh Vs Guest Cast Series 3 Episode 1". Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  57. ^ "Farty paintings and getting sozzled on gin: a seriously silly history of art and comedy colliding". Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  58. ^ "BBC IDEAS How Limits Can Boost Creativity". Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  59. ^ "BBC IDEAS How Limits Can Boost Creativity". Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  60. ^ "Quilla Constance Happy Christmas Mom and Dad Video Artwork". Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  61. ^ "Read My QR: Quilla Constance and the Conceptualist Promise of Intelligibility". Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  62. ^ "Quilla Constance Pukijam Video Artwork". Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  63. ^ Robinson, Hilary; Buszek, Maria Elena (27 June 2019). Quilla Constance: A Companion to Feminist Art. ISBN 9781118929193. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  64. ^ "Quilla Constance #QC_001 Video Artwork". Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  65. ^ Robinson, Hilary; Buszek, Maria Elena (27 June 2019). Quilla Constance: A Companion to Feminist Art. ISBN 9781118929193. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  66. ^ Allen, Jennifer (2017). Transcending the Signified: Quilla Constance (PDF). ISBN 978-0-9955554-1-9. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  67. ^ Allen, Jennifer (2017). Quilla Constance Transcending The Signified Live Performance Artwork (PDF). ISBN 978-0-9955554-1-9. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  68. ^ "Teasing Out Contingencies: Quilla Constance Open Studio Tate Exchange, Tate Modern". Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  69. ^ "Transcending the Signified: Quilla Constance Solo Exhibition MOCA London". Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  70. ^ "Transcending the Signified: Quilla Constance Solo Exhibition Old Fire Station Gallery". Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  71. ^ "Pukijam: Quilla Constance Solo Exhibition 198 Contemporary Arts". Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  72. ^ "Symposium: (Dis) identifications". Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  73. ^ "PUKIJAM". Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  74. ^ "Performance Art: Love, Lust and Longing".
  75. ^ "Jennifer Allen Presents". Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  76. ^ "DARK GLASSES". Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  77. ^ "The Dream of Putrefaction – curated by Dereck Harris". Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  78. ^ "Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design Jerusalem presents Goods to Declare – MFA Internat". Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  79. ^ "JENNIFER ALLEN (solo)". Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  80. ^ Robinson, Hilary; Buszek, Maria Elena (27 June 2019). Quilla Constance A Companion to Feminist Art. ISBN 9781118929193. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
  81. ^ "A Companion to Feminist Art | Wiley".
  82. ^ "Q & A with Quilla Constance". Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  83. ^ "Emerging Artist of the Week: Jennifer Allen". Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2015.

External links[edit]