Jonathan Allen

Actor #2

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Year 2020
Medium Watercolour and gouache on paper
Dimensions 29.7 x 21 cm

About the work

Actor #2 is part of an ongoing series of similarly titled works on paper. It depicts an organic form – possibly a blade of grass – twisting in response to internal motivations. The title references the writing of N. Katherine Hayle in her book Unthought (2017), in which the author uses the term ‘actor’ to designate animals, plant life and crucially many technical devices, as ‘cognizers’.

About the artist:

Born UK 1966, Jonathan Allen lives and works in London. He graduated from MA Fine Art at Chelsea School of Art, London (1989); and PhD Fine Art, Kingston School of Art (2017).

Allen’s artistic work encompasses photography, video, performance, drawing, curatorial and archiving practices, and writing. His research focuses on the technology and politics of spectacular culture, and on magic’s various codifications in contemporary art and within wider cultural discourse.

Selected exhibitions include Placement does not explain, but cultivates a September garden / We Are Publication, Camden Art Centre, London (2020); The Collector’s Room, JGM Gallery, London (2020); 1d for Abroad, Tintype, London (2019); Casting for the Voice of Strength, Stanley Picker Gallery, London (2016); Twenty-First-Century Silks, Ryan Lee Gallery, New York (2016); Kalanag, David Risley Gallery, London (2008); VIII Bienal de Jafre (2017); Artefact: The Act of Magic, STUK, Leuven (2017); Drawing Biennial 2017, Drawing Room, London (2017); Explode Every Day, MASS MoCA, Massachusetts (2016-17); Drawing Biennial 2015, Drawing Room, London (2015); Adventureland Golf, Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol (2013); Outrageous Fortune, Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea (2011); Magic Show, Grundy Art Gallery, Hull (2010); The Great Transformation – Art & Tactical Magic, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt (2008); The Director’s Apartment, British School at Rome (2008); Belief, 1st Singapore Biennial (2006); Tommy Angel performance for Keep the Faith, Tate Britain, London (2006); and Variety, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea (2005).

Allen is an associate curator at the Magic Circle Museum, London and has authored a book on the English artist and mystic Austin Osman Spare, entitled Lost Envoy (2016).

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