WEYA Preview: Five minutes with … Lauren O’Grady

Only give me back the world I threw away 1 - Lauren O'Grady

The Cultural Olympiad will be ending on a high in Nottingham with World Event Young Artists. The event will see 1,000 artists aged 18-30 from 100 countries around the world showcasing their work all across the city. We caught up with local artist Lauren O’Grady whose work has been picked by Sir Paul Smith himself to be displayed in his flagship store in Willoughby House on Low Pavement.


Q: Tell us a little bit about your work.

The work is a set of three sculptures titled ‘Only give me back the world I threw away’  (pictured). The title is a quote from a science fiction novel by Edmund Cooper ‘A Far Sunset’ which I was reading whilst I made the work. The sculptures create narratives about the past, the present and the future through recalling images from science fiction film and literature whilst using the authority of a museum artefact. Illustrating that no matter how far into the future you can imagine the world, you can’t get away from the time in which you live.

Q:  How were you selected as one of the 1,000 artists to showcase during WEYA?

I was selected to participate in WEYA after I applied online. I was asked to enter a piece of work and describe why I would like to take part.

Q: What does an event like WEYA mean for a young artist like yourself?

WEYA is a great opportunity to show my work to a different and larger audience than I have before. Also to meet a lot of other young artists from around the world and see their work first hand.

Q: You were “handpicked” by Sir Paul Smith himself to exhibit in his flagship store, what was your reaction upon hearing the news?

It was a huge surprise as I previously knew nothing about it, the selection process happened very much behind the scenes so I had no idea I had even been put forward. It is an honour to have been chosen by someone as influential as Sir Paul Smith and I think the work will look great in that setting.

Q: Are there any exhibitions/shows/events within the programme you are especially looking forward to during the 10 days of the festival?

I am looking forward to seeing Frank Kent’s work on the side of one of the buildings at Primary, I have a studio space there and have had a couple of sneak previews so it will be nice to see the end result. Also, I work as part of a collaborative group Tether, we are doing a one night event as part of WEYA at All Saints’ Church which will be an audio-visual sensory installation, not to be missed!

Q: What’s next for you?

In the immediate future, for two weeks in September with Tether I will be working at The Royal Standard in Liverpool as part of the biennial http://www.the-royal-standard.com/programme/service-provider-tether-this-is-it/

Long term I will continue to make work in the studio at Primary and keep a look out for opportunities which may come up. I do have a couple of things in the pipe line but they are at a very early stage so I’d rather not say too much about them for now. I am also currently in the process of developing a website which will be up and running very soon at laurenogrady.com


Lauren O’Grady’s sculptures can be seen throughout WEYA (7 – 15 September) at Paul Smith, Willoughby House, 20 Low Pavement, Nottingham, NG1 7EA



Posted on 05 September 2012
Featured author: melissa.gueneau

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