The artist in her studio, 2006
Georgia Russell was born in 1974 in Elgin, Scotland, and studied fine art at Aberdeen University and the Royal College of Art in London. She lives and works in Paris and has exhibited widely in Europe and the USA. Russell had several solo exhibitions with England & Co after leaving the RCA, and took part in many exhibitions curated by the gallery, including The Map Is Not the Territory series; Literary Constructs; and Persistent Obsessions. Her work has been featured in numerous publications and her practice has included several public art commissions in the UK.
Public collections that hold her work include the Pompidou in Paris and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London – one of the two Russell works acquired from England & Co for the V&A was exhibited in their display Mapping the Imagination.
Russell slashes, cuts and dissects printed matter, which she then manipulates and re-constructs into extravagant, ornamental, sculptural paper-works. The decorative qualities and inherent potential of her found ephemera are fully exploited as she transforms books, music scores, prints, newspapers, maps or photographs – sometimes with flamboyant colour and wild cutting, or with discreet play on the subject or title of her printed matter. Her works hover between object and image. Some works incorporate old musical scores are made as Russell feels that "music transcends language and is a trigger for the memory, poetry without words". Her rhythmic cut-out traceries with their accompanying shadows, function as "membranes of memories", looking as though they have been disturbed by a breeze or slight tremor. They evoke memories of music once heard, and represent 'our fading recollections of a time, person or place'.
Russell's work with books began during an artists' residency in Paris while she was a student at the Royal College of Art. Old books have always seemed to her like sculptural objects "representing the many hands which have held them and the minds they have passed through". She says that she has always chosen something which "holds within it a sense of its own personal history, an object which has a secret life", and wants to resurrect her fragile materials and give them "a new life and new meaning". There is a simultaneous sense of loss and preservation in each construction, as she wants to retain and reclaim the past as much as her techniques attack it.
Illustrated catalogues: availability limited.