I started my DOLPH installation by collecting up and bringing to the space a mish-mash of contrasting papers and books occupying my studio, home, desktop, relating to the two big influences in my recent work – the birth of my daughter last year and my PhD research into 'The Feral, the Art Object and Agonistic Struggle'.
Some of these papers, like the old copies of a formal piece of writing for examination, had already turned into scrap material for drawing on in the studio, firstly with, and of, my daughter, and then around her moving figure, which I further explored on a dedicated roll of paper. This reminded me of the rolls of paper I had made drawings on and ripped apart during pregnancy, along with some smaller sketches, and I decided to bring those into the DOLPH space too as they represent another, hidden side of my practice that is softer, less aggressive than the objects, though relating to the same subject matter – as in the violent womb sculptures on top of the upturned drawers. Meanwhile, the wallpaper samples collected for decorating her nursery are expanded upon in the space with the leftover paint samples that drip around and mix the different parts of the installation together. The domestic further infiltrates the white cube via the nappy sculptures made at the end of last year during my 4 months’ maternity leave from my PhD, recording the daily performance of changing her nappies in my studio.
The condom/milk/breast sculptures are ongoing: when I first started making them they related to trying to conceive, and now they relate to expressing milk, as well as an interest in how I store and hide expressed milk when at my studio or in college, as if it is something illicit. This made me think of the stories of the pétroleuses of the Paris Commune – women who were accused of smuggling petrol or paraffin in milk bottles with the intention of committing arson against the government. That idea then brings the installation back to my interest in the so-called ‘feral’ element of society, of ourselves, and in agonistic politics, that values conflict over harmony in democracy. The central wood structure, made of a sodden door frame ripped out of my bathroom at home, is then thought of as a structure for a bonfire that the milk sculptures may ignite and that the mass of paperwork feeds into. However, it also resembles a more homely structure like a tee-pee or child's shelter, dissolving boundaries between the different spheres, bringing the domestic, studio-based and theoretical influences together.
Lana Locke 2016