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Emma Cousin

emma c 2.jpeg

Photo credit: Faris Mustafa


 Oil on canvas


Oil on Canvas

Emma Cousin (b.1986) makes paintings and drawings that often start with a piece of word-play or colloquial phrase. This is used as the title of a work that expands on that piece of fragmentary text that is often allusive or playful, for works that feature figures engaged in what might look like private games, relationships or forms of communication with each other. Her works respond to the way language is structured and its limitations.

Cousin has said “The ideas around social systems - how bodies hold each other up, fit together, support or destabilise each other has been a concern for some years. The struggle to an equilibrium physically and psychologically as well as a play with sensorial opposite - pleasure/pain, love/violence, disgust/attraction. The symmetry of the paintings’ design encapsulates that struggle...” (interview with Hettie Judah, 2022)

The figures in Cousin’s works often form a circuit of some sort, as if they might become a machine that collectively articulates a system. Cousin uses the bodies of the #gures she depicts to explore ideas around communication and non-communication to question our relationship to each other and also to think about the ways bodies operate in space. That space might be interpreted as a post-human space, where alteration and augmentation allow the subject to create new versions of ourselves in order to communicate with each other. Cousin has stated: “I’m curious about our expectations of our bodies and judgements of other bodies. I’m testing their limits and interested in putting the bodies at risk. They exist in a liminal space which is a place of discomfort, an edge or a boundary.” (Interview, Elephant magazine, June 2018)


Selected Solo Exhibitions

Tunnel Vision, Niru Ratnam, London (2024)

Game Face, Niru Rattan, London, UK (2021)
Introductions, White Cube, London (Online), UK (2021)

Drawing Biennial, Drawing Room, London, UK (2021)
New Dirt, Solos at Goldsmiths CCA Gallery, London, UK (2020

Sigma Sigma Sigma, Milton Keynes Art Centre, UK (2019)

Marty, Edel Assanti, London, UK (2018)

Leg Up, Lewisham Arthouse, London (2018)
Aids to Living, Dolph Projects, London, UK (2017)

Missing You Already, White Conduit Projects, London (2017)

Selected Group Exhibitions 

Women on the Verge, Rhona Ho man, Chicago (2023)

High Humanity, Jack Siebert Projects, Paris (2022)
I’m Stepping High, I’m Drifting and there I go Leaping’, Xiao Museum of Contemporary Art, Rizhao, China (2022)

Girl Meets Girl, Kunstlaboratorium Vesto en, Norway (2022)
Superbloom. Brooke Benington Gallery, Milan (2021)
She Came to Stay. Andrea Festa Fine Art, Rome (2021)
Ridiculous. Elephant west, London (2020)
Outlines. Austin Desmond gallery, London (2020)
Soft bodies. Castle#eld gallery, Manchester (2020)

Survey, Jerwood Arts. Survey Show, touring to G39 Card , Bluecoats Gallery Liverpool & Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead  (2019)

Flumblelovelifekisturbingandflexy. ASC London (2019)
Absinthe. London (2019)
Ultra. J Hammond Projects. London (2019)

Survey. Jerwood Gallery. London. Touring Nationally (2018)
Wasp. Hannah Barry Gallery, London (2018)

Making Painting: A survey. Touring show. Germany and London (2018)

Painting Vol 1. Group exhibition. CGK Gallery, Copenhagen 2017 Mudhook. Tintype Gallery, London (2017)
Strangelands, Collyer Bristow Gallery, London (2017)
Silk Room, House of St Barnabus, London (2017)

When All The Saints,  Oil on canvas, 280 x 190cm (2022)

Time At Hogchester Arts

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