Penny Klein, is an artist and musician currently based in London.
She has currently working on few different projects at the moment. Most recently she just finished a short residency in South Pembrokeshire, Wales. Leaning into the idea
of the visiting artist, and their (sometimes) problematic involvement with short
term, community related art, she was interested in the expectations and perceptions
of a new place in such limited time. A meditation on the needy artist, she placed ads
in the local paper, in shop windows and online for local residents to take her on a
walk and show her their favourite place. she documented her side of everything,
from the agonising process of wording the poster, to the communication with the
venue, her anticipation of the meetings, worries about weather, the responses she
received and any antagonisms along the way. ” I went on daily walks with a
different person and reflected on these encounters, the shifting impressions I was
having as well as the difficulty of translating the intimacy of these experiences.
The residency culminated in a performative show and tell, which wove together
my introspections with work I made in response to the walks. Music, short films,
and story telling offered a revealing self-exposé as a gesture of gratitude to
everyone who had helped.”
I organise and coordinate a platform called the Surround with musician Rose
Dagul. We host a regular, nomadic DIY event for musicians and performers to
come together and test out new ideas in London. It’s a constant motivator to
perform and create new work ourselves and provides a solid framework for
projects with other artists and musicians locally. As a platform we also compile
music compilations of everyone’s work when we can, and are working on self
publishing and releasing our own music, bypassing some of the more established
routes and taking everything into our own hands as much as we can.
I’m also working on an ongoing personal project, spanning performance,
illustration and the written word, examining the perception of our bodies while
experiencing ill health. I am currently preparing a musical and choreographed
performance that explores the shifting relationship I have had with my body after
it stopped behaving quite in the way it used to, following a parasitic invasion.
Thinking about change, mystery, blame, anxiety, fear of chronic illness,
symptoms ‘being in the mind’ and the fragile ecosystem that sits inside of us, the
work is a playful meditation on losing control and what it takes to claw it back.
Penny’s most relevant conversation during residency at Arquetopia
“I think the most significant challenge I got was very early on and regarding my
role as the observer. I had proposed a project that would involve me doing a lot
of observational drawing, and I was made to look at what it means to be the
invisible observer, and the role of scribe within colonial history. It made me
thinking about ways to confront my own presence in public space, rather than
hiding behind it, and consider the connotations of the all-seeing onlooker.”
Chenges After the residency at Arquetopia
As touched on above, this idea of the observer and their assumed invisibility is
something I think about a lot. It took me a little while to return to observational
drawing, but as I do I am so much more aware of the editing decisions, both in
terms of setting myself up in a situation and also the process itself. I also started
to question more generally my emphasis on aesthetic and to feel liberated from
the ‘page’. I had started to confuse the potential to deconstruct with something
that could only happen on paper, within an image, and was reminded of physical
intervention as a tool, and public space as a stage.
The importance artist residencies to the artistic practice
Penny told us, ” they are so vital! A good residency provides the space and time to explore something in depth and follow tangents without constraint. I wouldn’t say they are free of distractions exactly, but they are free of our usual distractions. They
declutter our routine which means we can really engage in our surroundings and
be sensitive to new or alternative ways of doing things. They can provide really
useful interruptions to the way we think”.