Apollo
Interviews

In the studio with… Heather Phillipson

6 May 2021

Heather Phillipson is an artist, poet and musician who lives and works in London. Her work spans – and regularly combines – a range of media, from video, sculpture and installation to audio and web-based projects. Last summer she unveiled her sculpture for the Fourth Plinth Commission in Trafalgar Square, titled THE END: a nine-tonne steel-and-polystyrene swirl of cream garnished with a cherry, a fly and a camera-equipped drone (until spring 2022). Phillipson’s latest work, created for Tate Britain’s annual commission, will go on view in the Duveen Galleries when museums in the UK reopen.

Where is your studio? 
My primary studio is in my head.

What do you like most about the space?
I’m in it on my own.

What frustrates you about it?
I’m in it on my own.

THE END (2020) by Heather Phillipson, installed on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London

THE END (2020) by Heather Phillipson, installed on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

How messy is your studio?
It depends whether I’ve meditated yet or not.

RUPTURE NO 1: blowtorching the bitten peach (video still; 2021), Heather Phillipson

RUPTURE NO 1: blowtorching the bitten peach (video still; 2021), Heather Phillipson

What’s the weirdest object in there?
Me.

Which artistic tool could you least do without?
Imagination.

What’s the most well-thumbed book in your studio?
The one I keep meaning to write.

Do you cook in the studio? 
It depends what you mean by cooking.

What do you listen to while you’re working?
The internal conflict.

Do you ever sleep in your studio?
If I’m lucky – I’m a seasoned insomniac.

Is anything (or anyone) banned from your studio?
I can rarely control what gets in.

‘Tate Britain Commission: Heather Phillipson, RUPTURE NO 1: blowtorching the bitten peach’ is scheduled to run at Tate Britain, London, until 23 January 2022.

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