Artist Statement. 2012. Natalie McIlroy.
Film, site specific installation and photography are the three main areas that my practice resides.
Primarily working out with the studio, I take inspiration from diverse natural landscapes,
especially that of my home country Scotland; engaging with organic elements and structures. I
consider visiting museums, archives, libraries and local history centers a vital component to my
practice. My methodology combines spontaneous and intuitive responses whilst acknowledging
or subverting previous historical, scientific or social political research.
I have a sensitive approach to site and location. Previous projects have used the physical
dimensions of a given space to determine the length of film shown or how an audience interacts
with the work. Many of my pieces have only existed in the space in which they were constructed
and are made with perishable substances such as wax. I hope to create environments that seem
ephemeral and transient on first encounter yet have an underlying feeling of control and
dominance. This approach embraces a battle of leadership between myself and the physical
world which in turn informs my interest in controlled observation, captivity, and power
hierarchies within the animal and human world. It is important that the work has a conceptual
framework that lingers on within the viewer after the work no longer exists.
Inspired by slap stick humour, natural history documentaries and heroic figures throughout the
ages I use subtle humour to explore not only human/animal relationships but also spatial and
object hierarchies. I create rankings of spaces and materials; success and failure co-existing to
undermine, visualise and mock authority. I am interested in the following predicaments; human
vs. animal, human vs. science and pathos vs. hysteria; three precarious states of play within the
human condition. What can the non-human form provide as a bodily, spatial or communicative
I am fascinated by the use of the ‘body’ in performance art and the theory of phenomenology.
The early performance art of the 1960s and 70s and the works of Marina Abramovich, Bas Jan
Ader and Sigurdur Gudmundson inspire me greatly. With respect to my investigation in to the
physicality of bodily forms and its relation to species hierarchies, I have been drawn to artists
such as Rebecca Horn, Ilmour Steffandotter, Jana Sterbak and Marcus Coates. Theoretically, I
am inspired and informed by the texts of Donna Haraway, Deleuze and Guitarri, and John