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About Helen Marten

Born: 1985, Macclesfield, UK

Lives and works in London


2005-8: Ruskin School of Fine Art, University of Oxford
2004-5: Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London

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Helen Marten

Practice: sculpture, installation, video

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 What propels an emerging artist from obscurity to renown in a short space of time?

We'd obviously like to believe that it's chiefly talent - exceptional abilities that overhaul and challenge current conceptions of art.

And in this respect Helen Marten's subversive yet eloquent practice ticks all the right boxes: a humour-laden mash-up of materials, signifiers and "environmental window-shopping" which, for all its stylistic fearlessness, resonates with absolute integrity and poise.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Marten's work is its ceaseless invention, a seemingly interminable flow of ideas rendered with spot-on visual acuity. If the aesthetic fundaments of Marten's pick & mix cultural plunder are shared by many artists, few so consistently broaden, energise and re-invent their vocabulary. Helen Marten's cryptic yet instantly negotiable commentaries on 'modern man taking part in modern history' set lively new agendas for current art.

Added July 2011

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Artist's statement:

I often worry that artists can get into this hilarious kind of masturbatory practice… I mean, how it can be mean-spirited or self-congratulatory if all the hooks, all the one-liners, the loops, are a contented pat on the back: hermetic. Or the danger of rhythms of production that just become one type of ungenerous plodding. I like theft because it inherently bundles so many additional voices alongside this idea of a wicked gesture. There's something of it in graffiti… rhizomatic chaos. But latently systematic, too.

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