Blog Post: Emily Motto

Quintet 2020 for postcard.jpg

Quintet, 2020, Cardboard, cement, aluminium, plaster, newsprint, masking tape, cloth tape, pigment, housepaint, chalk pastel, 220x330x100cm

Iterations/Feeling forms


13 April 2021

Emily Motto (BNC14) reflects on her time and work after finishing her New Contemporaries Studio Bursary with Bluecoat.

I arrived at Bluecoat in 2019 thinking about flat-pack-ability, about possibilities for components to be moved, reused and re-assembled.

Working with industrial rolls of card, paper, and newsprint, coated with layers of paint and building materials, I’ve been experimenting with their surface and sheet structure, using cement and plaster to soften and support shapes in different ways, and testing limits of their strength to stand.

Playing with slot-able counterparts, with contingencies, tensions. Reassembling offcuts, finding harmonies in form and composition. Thinking about qualities of balance, precarity, and fullness.

When moving the works I quickly came to realise how un-flat and difficult to pack they were eventually becoming; the particularities of the curves and bends generated in the making were essential, holding in a crucial way which gave the forms character, energy, and a presence.

Feelings seemed to echo and resonate through the forms.

Works have been developing into very fragile and contingent assemblages.

The Obstacle Course at Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer.jpg
The Obstacle Course, 2019
The Potting Shed

Shapes, marks and surfaces have expanded into spaces, like The Obstacle Course (a work made through the Potting Shed), and perhaps most significantly, have gravitated back towards the wall.

Wall assemblages; the space in the studio to experiment; the skirting board.

corner IMG_9022 (1).jpg
Second Sentiment, 2020
cement, card, foam

It’s now 2021 and I’ve just finished constructing a PDF of Ikea-esque instructions for a remote installation of The Quintet being exhibited in a show next month, which feels like the (un-)flat-pack-able is now facing its test, and is perhaps coming full circle.

Working backwards from the forms and spelling out the way the paper, taped to the wall by its edges and pulling outwards at a diagonal, should feel.

Precisely measured accidents.

I'm wondering if nuances in how a material moves and responds can be assumed, planned, repeated, accurately predicted?

If a feeling of a form can be reiterated?

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Bluecoat studio, 2020

The Quintet is being shown at The Royal Society of Sculptors GBA show, open from 17 May 2021

Emily will be speaking at the online Sculpture Slam on 21 April