Installation view, Two into one undone at the Galeria Fidel Balaguer, Barcelona, Spain, 2013
King’s practice in film, artists video and drawing has operated between India and the UK for the last twelve years. She has also lived long term in the Netherlands and Spain (1990-2000) following an artist-in-residency at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (Amsterdam). Whilst living in India, her work spanned activist filmmaking and performance projects as well as film production design, culminating in a PhD research of artists-film and documentary from India that has informed her work as a curator in this field. These relocations have led to questioning the wider politics of cross-cultural collaboration as an integral aspect of her practice, developing new theoretical models and imagined futures of art production and exhibition. Founding VisionMix in 2014 - a cross-regional network of artist-filmmakers, photographers and curators - has fostered a collective exploration of ideological spaces of video and new media art in the public realm.
The large-scale drawings on this site, (2014-2016), are part of a series under the collective title, Making the land to live on. The proportion of the landscapes and urban scapes pencilled on the Arches paper relates to the aspect ratio of Cinemascope in film (1:2.35), suggesting to the viewer their relationship with film narratives. They are epic in size yet intensely detailed on close inspection. This surrender to the detail is the means by which the artist is able to root herself, projecting onto the paper a variety of imagined, improbable and unpeopled landscapes that could not actually be inhabited. The landscapes are instead metaphors of how we awkwardly struggle to naturalise spaces of belonging in our environment. They follow an anti-utopic drive. The drawings are not idealised vistas but spaces that disrupt the colonising impulse of landscape painting from western art history, or futurist imaginaries of the city in architectural projections. It is important that the scale of the drawings is large, immersing the viewer in the repetitive labour of mark-making that has gone into producing them. This labour, unlike the confidence of urban planners, is precarious and fallible- the scale is slightly preposterous for a simple pencil drawing. Cities in these drawings that may have had a future fold organically in on themselves, becoming living organisms that are prone to external risks. What is concrete and solid can be erased in an instant. King’s landscapes suggest a state of being both within and outside the perception of the body, entangled in the process of drawing.
From 2004 King has been developing a series of works between ‘essay film’, ‘documentary’ and ‘artists moving image’. A recent work, Line is a Line, (2016>) also transforms her drawings into minimal animations. Her various films have been distributed in biennales, film festivals, video art platforms, university conferences and artist-in-residency programmes across the world. She has produced/directed a series of installations that explore the authoring processes of stage performers and choreographers, collaborating with Veenapani Chawla, Vinay Kumar, Royston Abel (in India) and Simon Vincenzi and Helena Goldwater (in the UK). These collaborations expand on concerns from King’s drawings where these become dialogues with creative partners. Collaborations are often open-ended and poetically responsive, drawing upon relationships with physical site and body memory. In 2011, an exceptional departure was to film a devotional folk cultural movement in India known as the Warkari, focusing on music and dance that emerges from everyday spaces. The film works often explore thresholds between differing states of reality, or being in the collision between two worlds, particular places of vulnerability. The questioning of what is meant by ‘personae’ not only in relation to the fictional roles from which performers draw their behaviour, but also the transitional states of making artworks, music, dance or performance. This liminal space also stands metaphorically for the various stations that we encounter in the life cycle, in birth, death and transition. King’s films also touch on philosophical questions of time, contemporaneity and tradition, viewed through a political and cross-cultural lens.