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All work and photographs © Emma Starkey, first photograph © Artlyst

Emma Starkey

  • About the artist

    Emma Starkey graduated from Central Saint Martins, London in 2018 with an MA in Fine Arts. 

  • About the work

    Emma Starkey is a fictional character. The only things we truly know about her is her Birmingham accent, the turtle shell of books on her back, her mom's Jannette and her Dad’s Arthur.


    The work contests the division between the realm of memory and the realm of experience, Starkey develops forms that do not follow logical criteria, but are based on subjective associations, associations created from past works, a developing continuous language that’s often political and strange, with odd objects being repurposed and made significant such as a dog toy chicken. Formal parallels are made between works with the aim to incite the viewer to make new personal associations. Starkey’s work is influenced by myth/religion, Monty Python and working class humour, body politics, Nietzschean philosophy, eastern philosophy regarding the immaterial and 18th Century western paintings. Starkey often uses the body as a premises to undermine Monotheist religion especially Christianity. Currently the work investigates notions of whiteness as a social construct, through the ‘deemed’ (?) white body. ‘Although I consider whiteness as a social construct I am also aware of my social image. People often perform an image. I like to breach my image… But its not all about appearance, we are obsessed by it, through performance art I like to gain human connection that is beyond the superficial. A lot of things are made to be important in order to get people to perform in certain ways. I want my work to hit the innate...


    Humans if in tune can predict future events, for me I make the work even if at the time it seems absurd, such as the naked clown performance which occurred in Worcester, the naked clown’s first appearance was prior to the scary clown craze, this was a premonition of Trumps election and the craze, the craze was used as a distraction during the election, but was also a materialised fear, a deranged clown smile - a symbol of a world happily smiling in the death of humanity, i.e what is now called Post-Truth, a nation accepting lies. When events are blown up in the media from one dodgy image, through technological advances we can see this image anywhere, the (craze) grew out of a media catalyst. I deem fiction as a great part of reality ‘Emma Starkey


    Starkey takes on many White forms revealing the absurdities attached to whiteness, she focuses on representation and how the history of representation whether in painting or architecture has an impact on social dynamics, value, and performs cultural hegemony. Starkey attempts to lift the white veil and undermine whiteness’s structural properties, a subject that often evades scrutiny due to its historic invisibility. ‘Starkey’s work is seemingly controversial as it dares to question the very foundations of Western society.’ Michael Bryan


    Live art/performance art* is key to Starkey’s practice as the ritual is live, there are possibilities in the vulnerability of such acts that cannot be ‘corrected’, and these possibilities offer an opening for new discovery for both the viewer and herself. Starkey’s practice is experiential and shaped by her intuitive exploration of material and simultaneously her own ever-changing interrogation of history and experience.  

    *Doing, living, instinctive


    Text provided by the artist

  • Links

    Artist website:

    Instagram: @starkey.emma


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