Wonderland gets the feeling concept artist Sarah Maple’s striking work needn’t be over-analysed. It is, she would concede, a brash, punky knee-jerk reaction to life in multicultural England – unfortunately, detractors are quick to tar it with the ‘shocking for shocking’s sake’ brush. We caught up with Maple, who’s latest exhibition It’s a Girl! runs at Bethnal Green’s Aubin Gallery from today.
What is It’s a Girl! set to exhibit?
Sleeping Beauty performing an operation, me in a nappy, a child with pubic hair and a Persian cat. It sounds terrible when I put it like that.
What does it aim to explore?
Feminism, the art world, what it feels like to be living in Britain today – what it feels like to be a woman living in Britain today.
Does life experience inform and empower your work as much as your love of art and literature?
Absolutely, most of my work is not actually inspired by art itself, but by the world around me, quotes from friends, people I’ve met and so on. I would say it’s mostly based on my life experiences, even on a subconscious level.
What made you decide to appear in many of your photos?
To me, what makes a photo is that special something, that twinkle in the eye. Sometimes that is not something I can explain in words to a model…it’s something I’m feeling which I express by using my face. It adds that special something to the image. And I’m vain.
What living artist do you admire the most?
Stella Vine, Stewart Lee…everyone coming to my head is dead.
It’s a Girl! runs until February 9th at London’s Aubin Gallery – 64-66 Redchurch Street, Bethnal Green, E2 7DP.
Words: Jack Mills