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1st April, 2016

Philosophy and the Visual Arts Salon: Philosopher Sacha Golob in Conversation with the Artist Jane Wildgoose

March saw the latest in the highly successful series of TCCE Philosophy and the Visual Arts salons – it was a real pleasure to introduce and talk with the artist Jane Wildgoose. These salons are designed to bring together artists, curators, philosophers and anyone with an interest in these issues to talk informally with an artist about his or her work and practice.

As you’ll see from the audio and the accompanying slide show, Jane’s work covers a number of immediately compelling themes – death, mourning, collecting, memory and others. But what is particularly striking is the way she offers a distinctive set of perspectives on these issues. For example, her exhibition at the Crypt Gallery St. Pancras combines a visceral feeling of fear and intimacy, of descending among the dead, with painstaking scholarly work on the archival documents that chronicle the interments. Similarly, her work on human remains is at once an artistic exploration of the nature of mourning and a project with serious political implications – how should museums treat objects stolen wholesale from peoples for whom they still hold enormous cultural and emotional significance?

This was primarily an artistic discussion and one of the aspects I found most interesting was Jane’s closing remarks on how she sees her broader practice – on the effects of her work, for example. But the talk and the audience questions also raised a number of important philosophical issues: how should we now see the artist’s role, how we should understand practice such as collecting, and how we should think about different forms of order or taxonomy?
Dr Sacha Golob, Philosopher, King’s College London

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