Tuesday, 20 March 2018


looking through Bilbao images whilst building my bio for OCA - trying to sound calm yet serious, established with experience but open to and excited by new ideas, evangelical about art and its value but not too straight faced.....#minefieldofdecisions
I am an artist. My practice has an extensive history of making, one strand of which explores the concept of bookness. The hybrid nature of the book form has led me to undertake an extensive range of commissions and exhibitions. The work can also be found in numerous public and private international collections.
A desire to collaborate underpins my work, evidenced in an extensive history of socially engaged residencies in a wide range of contexts. Teaching formally within Art College's informs one's own practice and continues to connect me with current creative thinking. I am interested in making work that communicates with people whilst leaving space for the viewer, enabling them to stop and reflect.
The work I am involved in with communities, pupils and students has its roots in attempting to make the world a better place through creativity. A belief in art as a tool for change, as a way of engaging with this world, of seeing its beauty and opportunities and supporting the individual to develop their own understanding. OCA is the future - I love the excellent systems that are in place to support students which in turn enable me to be a good at my job.
I document my practice here http://lesbicknell.blogspot.co.uk/ and to check out some outcomes go here http://lesbicknell.wixsite.com/work
I hope it does the job - meanwhile the images explore' ill considered street design decisions' and 'site specific textile activity' the drying racks with umbrellas are my favourite, taking into account the climate. 
meanwhile I Tonya http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5580036/?ref_=nv_sr_1 is relentlessly oppressive, but the acting is brilliant, especially the relationship between mother and daughter.

Saturday, 17 March 2018


the shadow and the void - continuing the work on the pieces for Goldlay in Chelmsford. The shadows and their relationship to the objects are really dynamic and have emerged even better than I had hoped.

Thursday, 15 March 2018


Work for Goldlay Square is progressing. The working environment at http://www.steelsculptures.co.uk/ is a mixture of pre-industrial revelation, labour camp and alchemy. This time of year the cold infiltrates your bones but the mind is engaged with the mental gymnastics needed to cope with watching an idea become a thing. What was a drawing has evolved into very large physical objects. To do this collaboration has been essential, between people and between processes. The tools range from whatsapp to a pencil via illustrator software and a plasma cutter. The air is infused with possibilities and otherness when the hyperotherworldlynesshazyblue of the welding torch merges metals, meanwhile the plasma cutter is a little like magic transcribing and translating the digital to the very physical. We are on our way...

Tuesday, 13 March 2018


'A painting in a museum hears more ridiculous opinions than anything else in the world' - Edmond de Goncourt, art critic. The Orange Balloon Dog by Don Thompson uncovers the systems of money that support the art world and how the art world supports money making - a must read but be weary it's got nothing to do with actual art making. In 1899 economist Verlem defined luxury as 'a form of waste designed to confer status on an essentially useless class of people'. Russell Brand's podcast Under the skin 045 - What's the biggest threat to Freedom? islam or Consumerism?  Had an excellent conversation with Sam Harris taking in thoughts around learning which I extended to education. 'Real learning is hard because it's usually painful, you have to recognise that you are wrong in some way, you have to let that part of you that is wrong die' - acquiring a new way of thinking is never easy so, although never a truer word but maybe it could be more about building and developing rather being than such a binary experience. In the film The Shape of Water the sense of loneliness in all the characters lives is truly heart breaking. This extends to the sign language used by Sally Hawkins - it's just so mournful - truly excellent direction and great acting from the whole cast within spaces that are believable and add to the tone of the whole piece. It's been mid-point review time at Camberwell on the Book Art Course. It's where the students whose work is being discussed and critiqued by the group cannot respond and they have to listen and watch the group deconstruct their work without defending it. It can be a hard core challenge if the student holds onto their original intention. They have to become flexible, finding a way to engage with the groups thoughts and incorporate it into their own understanding of their work. It is one of the great learning sessions within the course. More images from Bilbao - to add to my collections of 'buildings covered in stuff' and 'doors blocked up'.

Monday, 12 March 2018


3 days in Bilbao - I've wanted to go to the Guggenheim since they built it but the experience has eluded me until now. Bilbao is a stunning city, surrounded by hills and cut in half by a river. the old quarter takes you back in time with its tall narrow streets and great bars and the new areas are full of elegant brutal and robust architecture. And food - grazing on pintxos is the answer to breakfast lunch dinner and in fact whenever you fancy a snack. There is sculpture everywhere and most of it good. Anyway on the first day the 6 hours in the Guggenheim was just sublime, wondrous. There is the building where at every turn new shapes and spaces emerge. The Chillida and Heidegger inspired show was stunning. A joy of creativity with many of my favourite artists in play - Jorge Oteiza, Lawrence Weiner, Pierre Huygehe, Norbert Kricke, Gordon Matta Clark and Eva Hesse. Chillida talks about the notion: of the rumour of limits. Standing in front and around his work it unfurls - the mind seems to want to unfold and attempts to flatten out - the revelation of shapes - remaking the pieces. But the physical art and their presence is all about power and often takes one to violence. There was a retrospective of the work of Henry Michaux - thoughtful abstract ideograms, a made up language of reading, music notation, body and drugs which explore the cartography of the imagination. And then there was the Serra. Moving through the permanent piece A Matter of Time, one is struck by being very conscious of self of both ones own body and the shape and space it inhabits within the space. The visual play of mind and body, voids becoming material and negative space continually evolves. The act of controlled viewing a confident, constant, conscious, clarity. Not being able to take photographs was incredibly liberating and intense looking, note taking and sketching has embedded the day into my conscious. So many spaces to see - amongst the daily extended txikiteo I managed The Museo de Aarte Sacro is a real must see. Stunning religious objects and paintings. Museo Bilbao archeological is just dull, Museo Pasos de Semana Santa explains the history of the city and has a model of Bilbao and surrounding area that is to die for, Museo of reproductions is just plain unnecessary, although access to the building is intriguing. The Museo de Bellas Artes has an excellent collection of Spanish artists work. There was a great Goya show, in the later paintings he somehow captured the spirit of the individuals. I have so many notes to follow up.... artists, pieces of work and ideas, it'll keep me going until Glasgow International in April. 

Monday, 5 March 2018


working on developing the 3D printing knowledge - its interesting to focus on the structures that support the 'real' work it has a similar quality to knitting. as ever the work created when making the actual work within the software is drawing me in. I am also interested in all the support material within the actual 3D printing.
The Post - it's a joy to see Streep and Hanks riffing off each other whilst an extraordinary cast of exceptional actors act exceptionally all around them. Obvious to say that it is somehow prescient but maybe politics is just always rotten

Sunday, 4 March 2018


the snow has given the opportunity to work on the digital files for the Goldlay Sq commission, checking how they interface with the plasma cutter. 

2 days in London after synthetic anatomy session I went to a few exhibitions - The Gursky at the Hayward was impressive, the images are quietly heroic but I spent a lot of time working out how much the organisation was making on ticket sales as it was very busy and at £15:00 a little steep. Which gets me to The Whitechapel - unsure why I actually went as 1, it was Mark Dion, an artist who is now making work about the work he was making - see the array of costumes, 2, it's just better to go and see actual work by ornithologists, archaeologists etc  3 I had seen all the work in other places and 4 it was also £15:00 which seemed very expensive. But at least we have the bookshop which is a London treat. I had seen some extraordinary work almost on my own for free in a number of galleries the day before which didn't help.  Lorna Simpson and Matthew Day Jackson at Hauser and Wirth were good shows - instructive and powerful. Marvin Gaye Chetwynd at Sadie Coles was messy and fun. John Riddy at Frith St Gallery has some darkly narrative photographs of brick walls that were really moving. The mixed show at Marian Goodman was so tasteful with well thought out and has some technically excellent pieces. Worth the journey to see a work by Giuseppe Penone Indistinti-confini - Talaventum a tree study which was just so moving.  meanwhile Detroit is a brutal film of brutality that brutally brutalises your mind while brutalising a cast of people from the beginning to the end 143 mins later  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5390504/?ref_=nv_sr_1 actually on real TV I've been working through Collateral, enjoying it until episode 3 where it appears to laid out all the connections and the plot in general, but we will see - maybe.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018


looking through more images from Lisbon - love these -
meanwhile just read the latest book by/from Goldie - a totally mad (wonderfully box of frogs mad) with each sentence on every page spinning off into numerous fractured multiple looping tales, evening scores and developing the myth - a boisterous take no prisoners read. Latest podcast’s the dollop with Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds- two guys chatting - the premise being that one person doesn’t know the subject- they have a great 'bloke' rapport and are very funny. Start with episodes 310a and 301b and also get to be horrified (even more so) by Trumps history. Whatever you think of him Russell Brand's Under the skin is a very intelligent listen, start with Billy Brag. The Boring Talks takes off-beat subjects and drills down to explore it. some films - if you like your family saga  films messed up watch The Meyerowitz Stories  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5536736/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt if you like your coming of age, sexual awakening films all lingering in European heat Call me by your name is for you http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5726616/​ and if you desire your relationships fractured and lost but trying Lady Bird is for you http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4925292/?ref_=nv_sr_1

and finally the debut EP from Clerk 37 has some deeply haunting intelligent sounds https://soundcloud.com/8-mana/sets/clerk-37-or-u-waited-mana003-1 check it out now.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018


 4 days in Lisbon- what to say - looking at endless tiled spaces has renewed my love of repeat pattern. I became particularly interested when one pattern juts up against another- this will be the starting point for the next body of work. 
Religious imagery was a large part of the break and was very powerful and particularly gruesome both in its depiction of cruelty and excessive materiality of the trappings involved with being the conduit of faith. Some of the best 'capes' ever - again something to return to re science/art capes. The collection of reliquary in the Igreja de Sao Roque  is one of the most comprehensive - I have never seen  part of the crib before. 
There are so many elements to the trip, more will come out later but for now - some great art - the Gulbenkian in Lisbon is always a favourite of mine - it reminds me of inside spaces within the Barbican. The collection is housed within 2 'old school modernist' buildings using tasteful materials set within glorious grounds. The walk taken from Lisbon’s centre takes you past monumental landscaping with its own seemingly monolithic monuments. The new contemporary art space MAAT with its swooping roof had two shows - digital highway last seem badly hung at the Whitechapel - here the hang gave the work space and a clearer reading. https://www.maat.pt/en Tension and Conflict Video Art after 2008 was an excellent and internationally broad show of video work and had some exceptional work. I have become interested in a concept introduced to me by Barbara Klare, that of artist as first responder and this lemon tastes of apple by Hiwa K is a particular version of this, after 2 months of protests in Kurdish area of Iran the video documents a single simple act that evolves and takes on numerous roles within the video. https://vimeo.com/52581227
And then there is the food - I ate some of the tastiest, creative food ever - grilled octopus that was set on fire and lamb couscous with spearmint sorbet were just two notable dishes - recommendations - Casa dos Pecados, Carmo and Oficina do Duque. 

Wednesday, 14 February 2018


excellent day at Camberwell running two workshops one that attempts to explore the impossible - the idea of creating an equation for finishedness in a piece of work and another that looked at the relationship we have as makers of objects with audiences through those very objects. Here are links to the presentations on Slideshare. https://www.slideshare.net/l.bicknell/13-02-18-context-audience-understanding-2018 https://www.slideshare.net/l.bicknell/13-02-18-finishedness-2018 It's a full on day with equations and diagrams created, negotiated  and shared. This has been developed through the work on the OCA and at the Maxwell Centre in Cambridge through the collaborations and workshops I ran with nano-technologists. The January edition of CavMag is out and the work I was involved in during my residency is featured. Really cool that I get to be in the same pages of incredibly intelligent, driven people who are working on important issues. 

White Cube in Bermondsey has a somewhat amateur looking collection of works on display (maybe that was the point) - but it was a little like what you might do if you had your first stab at a show on a foundation course if you wanted to 'do' installation - Eddie Peake and display 'meaningful objects' - He Xiangyu. The saving grace was that the dj was playing good 'old skool' jungle and there was an extraordinary Gursky on display - looking forward to seeing the show at The Hayward. 

Sunday, 11 February 2018


work on the brain continues - this 3D print is the negative space within the head - the folds. interesting to take it apart and to see how the making relates to the function.

meanwhile everybody in the art world will know somebody within The Meyerowitz Stories http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5536736/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt

Friday, 9 February 2018


After an interesting week at NUA where rooms of nervous individuals wielding black folders were to be found talking about possible futures - (yes interviews are underway) the work at Kings on synthetic anatomy continues.....meanwhile ..... today was another great day at Kings - consisting of numerous elements which including getting to grips with new software and the physical process of 3D printing. Pushing a material till it fails is always interesting and making a piece that explored the space of a book was the first of today's questioning of systems and a way of investigating materials. The next print will be of a brain that will explore the interconnectedness within it and create support structures that look like basketwork - maybe 3D printing is a textile activity and our department at Norwich should have one. Shelley James and Andrew Carnie ran a very professional workshop that looked at measuring, mapping and communicating. Making  great connections with my own and Celia's previous workshops. I loved the rules and general set up. It enabled the students to find their inner storytelling skills. Feedback and sharing at the end of the session seems very normal activity within a art education situation and an experience that is familiar but its excellent to watch students unfamiliar with this truly engage with the process and be genuinely interested in each others work.

Woody Harrelson does a great job in LBJ but maybe you have to be American to actually care http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4778988/?ref_=nv_sr_1 Phantom Thread is just so beautiful it melts your eyes and the acerbic tone of the actors is just chillingly brilliant when in dialogue with each other. "The tea may be gone but the interruption is still here" is one of my favourite http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5776858/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 and then there is Justice League - a bit like a CGI infused A team.

Sunday, 4 February 2018


I checked out the latest show at Annka Kultys Gallery which is by Bob Bicknell-Knight and all about how the internet is both presenting, mirroring and simultaneously driving us all to hell. Meanwhile the steep learning curve that is 3D printing is going well. I managed to print a brain with the two colour printer where the foundation struts are a different colour. The imagery within the program is probably more interesting that the actual objects, although there is an abstract magic around making real the virtual which I am sure I will never fail to be amused/amazed by. In the drawing workshop I redrew and then printed a 3D version using the medical scanning software of a blind-left-hand-15-second-drawing (yes the drawing workshop was a wonderful 'oldskool' art school session). Which was odd and infused with possibilities.

So this happened - on Saturday night I found myself walking away from an art auction for Bank arts in Eye with an Abigail Lane print! Meanwhile wonder http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2543472/ is truly beautiful and heart wrenchingly, obvious and a well worn journey but still quite lovely.  

Saturday, 3 February 2018


Fridays are all about Synthetic Anatomy, although learning and working with new software to be able to create 3D pieces has been my obsession this week in between the gaps of general teaching, running a smocking and pleating workshop for BA students, a folding workshop for MA students, interviewing prospective students for Textile Design BA, briefing the last unit for the current year 3 on the Textile Course at Norwich, tutorials for year 2 OCA Fine Art students, seeing The Comforter by the wonderful (you will laugh you will cry) Stacy Makishi https://www.artsadmin.co.uk/artists/stacy-makishi at the glorious Norwich Arts Centre which was really fantastic and then finally tweaking designs for planning committee for the Goldlay Square commission.

This Friday at Kings the afternoon session was run by Celia Pym.  http://celiapym.com/  Life drawing. If you ever need a drawing workshop I cannot recommend her more highly. The level of serious fun and energy in the room (for 2 hours) was awesome. The medical students went from 'this is a laugh', which it was, to taking the whole thing very seriously as they became focused and realised that drawing is not so easy and needs practice and a way of thinking to develop your skills. The drawing techniques and rules that engaged in by the students were so relevant to thinking about anatomy and 3D printing. 

Sunday, 28 January 2018


my latest obsession is the work of Charles Freger I came first across Bretonnes, a stunning book of French headwear but Wildermann an earlier book is inspiringly 'zany' http://www.charlesfreger.com/portfolio/wilder-mann/ the site has some truly beautifully odd costumes. meanwhile unlocked is a film full of intentions which have to be read and reread to make sense of direction and misdirection. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1734493/ Thor: Ragnarok is laugh out loud thrill a minute super hero knowing madness - excellent. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3501632/?ref_=nv_sr_1 murder on the orient express strangely flat and more of a case of who cares than who done it. late to this series but now working through inside No 9  - it is wonderfully dark with curious twists and turns. Marc Radcliff's 6 music special on Mark E Smith was wonderful - but just sad that he had to die for us to get the programme. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09rjjpw  Meanwhile my favourite comment about the man was by Tony Wilson and the track Industrial Estate - a whole song whose only lyrics are those of the title, with one or two yeah yeahs thrown in for good measure https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wo-OEj-EE-Y the clip below  is not the conversation but it's worth a watch from the past with Tony Wilson and added Paul Morley within an array of fashion madness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhLao7SdzIE