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Girl on Girl   17 Jan - 8 Feb 2004    Fri - Sun  1-6

Alex Michon

Prima Donna (detail) - Mixed Media

Alex Michon draws, paints, embroiders and decoupages over the pages of romantic fiction and linen hankies; layering images of sexual encounters, and personal disappointments she disrupts the nicey, nicey text whilst acknowledging a fascination with its romantic hinterland of imaginary fulfilment.
Alex was recently in Fanclub at Rosy Wilde

Arty interviews Alex

Where did you grow up?
In reality - Nottingham, but in my imagination, I spent my summers among the silver birches and cherry trees of a small estate 150 miles south of Moscow. I had long brown hair, wore starched white dresses, climbed trees, wrote poetry and was suffused with the deep melancholia of the Russian soul.

Is there a new Girly sensibility in Art?

There are two huge words in this question, like elephants trampling on mice. It depends what you mean by Girly and what you mean by Art. It also depends on where you cast your gaze.
I also find the word sensibility problematic, catching it would be like watching a dewdrop falling off a spiders webb.
New somehow expects novelty, like some shiny gadget that soon become obsolete, that thing that they put into white goods so that you have to buy a new one every five years.
Art- is what? The contemporary art scene in London? Berlin? New York? Belize?Afghanistan? Is it the clutch of art galleries around East London? Is it the type of work which wins the Turner Prize or what the Sun is writing about these days? Is is what Art Monthly, Frieze, Modern Painters,Sarah Kent or Matthew Collings defines?
If by Girly you mean bolshy, arsey, pretty, irrelevant, naughty, unapologetic, strong, disrespectful, self assured, shy and hesitant, gothic and punky, nostalgic, romantic not ironic or distant, not self consciously cleverdicky, which does not consider itself to be both intellectually superior and showy offy shocking, to a type of work which does not present a cold shoulder to anything which is evidently handmade and heartfelt, to an inconspicuous, emotional, sentimental, quietly revolutionary aesthetic, which takes as references; literature, musings, daydreams, wishes, all that is trashy, angry, poetic, twinkling, dark, shiny, small scale, huge, ricky tiky, unfinished, unhampered by snobbery or technique, which asserts itself though a hesitant, witty emotional charge and which does not apologise or explain - then my answer would have to be - I don’t know.

What star sign are you?
I do not believe in star signs.

What influences and inspires you?
Sophie von Hellerman, Sarah Doyle, Delaine Le Bas, Annabel Dover, Georgina Starr, Cathy Lomax, Frieda Khalo, Peter Blake, George Shaw, John Currin, Stella Vine, The Slits, Nadia Hebson, Pat O Connor, Patti Smith, Gina Birch from the Raincoats, Michael Bracewell, Ska,Bluebeat, St Francis of Assisi, Liz Neal, early David Bowie, Manet, Caravaggio, Fragonnard, Modigliani, The Pre-Raphelites, Gwen John, Jean Genet, Joe Strummer, Louise Bourgeoise, Paris 1968, Rockabillly rebels, The Ronettes, Karen Kilimnik, Kara Walker.

Is it important or irrelevant for women artists to engage with the art world on a political level?

I think it is important for artists (men, women or Martian) to engage with what concerns them at the particular moment they are making the work.

Is your work particularly female or feminine?

Do you think little girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice?

Yes and also slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails.

This interview appears in the February 2004 issue of Arty