Five minutes with…Clare Strand

Reading Time: 2 minutes

From photographs inspired by crime scenes to pseudo-scientific experiments, Clare Strand has always marched to the beat of her own drum – and her latest exhibition, Getting Better and Worse at the Same Time, is no exception. Featuring The Happenstance Generator (a machine that blows around images from her research projects) and The Entropy Pendulum (a moving arm that swings backwards and forwards over one of her prints), it’s a quirky, animated take on photography and kinesis that, like her previous projects, is somehow held together by Strand’s idiosyncratic, retro-futuristic aesthetic. BJP took five minutes with the artist to find out more.

BJP: Is the work in this exhibition all new, apart from The Happenstance Generator?

Clare Strand: It’s all pretty much new – there are few pieces that have been shown but never in the context of a cohesive show.

BJP: Did you make it all for the show? Or have you just had a particularly fruitful time of it recently?

CS: Yes, most the works have been made for this show. I like working towards tangible deadlines

BJP: It’s interesting that the work in this show veers away from straight photography. Was that a deliberate choice, or just where your interests are moving to?

CS: I’m not sure I would ever consider my work ‘straight photography’ but it’s important for me to keep moving and to keep making sense of the world using the most appropriate means.

BJP: Do you think there’s been a shift of interest in some photography towards work that emphasises the materiality of the image as an object?

CS: Well..that’s possible but I think it’s a mistake to follow a trend. As a maker you have to follow your own trajectory and disregard what happens to be fashionable at the time – because what is fashionable will always shift.

BJP: Why are you interested in this aspect of photography right now though?

CS: There are so many different aspects to what brings an idea to light, but in general my work, though it may not seem so is autobiographical. It is all about what I bump into on a daily basis, it’s about colluding with the world and being open to possibilities.

BJP: Has some of this work been inspired by Surrealism? You shot a story inspired by Surrealism not so long ago (Exquisite corpse, 2011), and the moving machinery in this show reminds me of Man Ray’s metronome [Object To Be Destroyed, a cut-out photograph of an eye attached to a metronome].

CS: Yes I do have a big interest in the Surrealists and the show is very much grounded in Surrealist themes – specifically with movement, machinery, dust, frottage, sex and chance.

The Entropy Pendulum from clare strand on Vimeo.

Getting Better and Worse at the Same Time – New work by Clare Strand is on show until 06 June at Grimaldi Gavin, 27 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4DW.

Diane Smyth

Diane Smyth is a freelance journalist who contributes to publications such as The Guardian, The Observer, The FT Weekend Magazine, Creative Review, The Calvert Journal, Aperture, FOAM, IMA, Aesthetica and Apollo Magazine. Prior to going freelance, she wrote and edited at BJP for 15 years. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival. You can follow her on instagram @dismy