exhibitionEmily PopePen Pusher24.06—15.07.202156 Conduit Street

24.06—15.07.2021 Wednesday—Saturday
56 Conduit Street

I keep having dreams in which I become aware that I murdered many people in the past, and these murders are a secret I must keep. These dreams absolutely terrify me. I think the murders are an allegory for all the little lies I’ve ever told. I associate lies with the shame of omission, exaggeration and denial. As a child I never lied, except about the fact I was gay. In fact, I was obsessed with the truth, being told it, and discovering it. I would hunt the truth down via eavesdropping or by employing a very heavy-handed, badgering style of emotional blackmail. I think lying and working go hand in hand, and honestly, you name the job and I’ve done it.

I have been writing for years in pressurised and time constrained situations - in the midst of lies - if you like. When I was a teenage cleaner I would take breaks when I shouldn’t and make art about happiness in my head. In my early 20’s I wrote in secret in my first office job, a place where I experienced low pay, high expectations and an acutely misogynist environment. I saw this stealing back of my own time, as really I was getting paid to write and not to work, as a naive fuck you. How about telling your boss to simply fuck off?

Pen Pusher is an edited diary spanning 6 years, written in a complicated bad mood, under a conservative, pro austerity government in the UK, and influenced by feminist artists who have used text and print methods to critique power and labour constructs. Alternatively, it is a collection of embittered (and sometimes drunken) scrawlings, sentimental statements and half baked marxism, which can be found in my notes folder alongside ‘buy chopped tomatoes for the pasta bake’. The ego of being honest, profound and concise in relation to your own position within the world, specifically in relation to employment or marginalisation, and how this profundity, these statements, can be commodified or made viral, is something I’m very preoccupied with.

To mark the exhibition, the artist has created a limited edition print of a new work, Insult/Salt (2021). Produced as part of V.O Print, a series of printed materials that reinforces the organisation’s dedication to the unique perspectives and practices its artists, curators and researchers, Insult/Salt will be released in a limited run of 50 and will be available to purchase on the V.O website.

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