Nadia Francis

London, UK

Winner of the Jackson's Art Prize

I am drawn to the relationship between physical space and psychological space, and the point in which a psychological state can spill into its physical surroundings. The home is an important site to explore this dynamic, as it has a deep significance as the location of our everyday lives. Our earliest psychological memories about who we are and how the world works begin in this space, and it can depict order, control, chaos and fantasy.
I choose objects within the home that act as vessels or containers caught between states of fullness, emptiness or a leaking out, alluding to a broader narrative on the human condition.  Pipes and wires reference relationships within this space; connecting, responding and moving from one state into another. I see the home as a metaphor for the psyche and its complicated internal workings. Memories are stored within its foundations and seep through the walls. Store cupboards conceal and hide, and the plumbing systems expel and remove that which is unwanted. Human interactions within this space become embodied in the physicality of the surroundings.
My recent work comes from a long-standing interest in philosophical ideas on Space, from Heidegger and his thoughts on what it means to 'dwell', to Bachelards' interest in the lasting impact different spaces can have. In the context of my art practice, I see physical space as an abstract backdrop for the realm of human interaction. It is always under construction and always in the process of being made. It is never finished, never closed, but rather a collection of stories so far. My interest with Space is also combined with an on-going preoccupation with Psychoanalysts such as Freud, Jung and Klein and their writing on unconscious processes.
The intention of my work is to open a dialogue on how we respond to our physical surroundings and also how we then affect them. The work discusses what it really means to inhabit a space, with all the flaws and imperfections made visible. My practice is rooted in a continued questioning of the boundaries between internal and external, real and imagined, and the instability of sanity. It is concerned with the behaviours of listing, reshuffling, recombining and restructuring elements from many angles. These actions can function as an anchoring point in order to make sense of an unstable and precarious world. With the current politics of mental health, we seem to be attempting to sanitise the messiness of the human experience. In denying our own messiness, we are unable to connect with others and their own messiness, which becomes lonely and isolating.
The print for me represents a conversation on the desire to contain. The painted image goes through a process of being flattened, pressed, and enmeshed within the fabric of the canvas as it moves through a lithographic press. The image is put under a decided pressure, it is rolled over again and again and it has to be made within a constrained size.  There is an uncertainty as to how the painted image will be translated through the press. It sits somewhere between a painting and a print, between one state and another. The image is made by applying ink and then wiping parts away with a cloth, leaving a trace of something that existed and has since been removed. It is then washed away, with one print remaining to mark its presence.