STOCKING THE FIRES OF DISILLUSIONMENT

James Sirrell for PQH

BLUE AND FULL OF SUN

James Sirrell for PQH

James Sirrell is a UK-based artist working with mixed media, such as alternative photography, found objects, and textiles. His practice often revolves around a storyline in which critique and homage are combined by employing his own thought-up alter-egos and simultaneously referencing iconic artists, singers, and writers through appropriation and adaptation.

In Please Queue Here's exhibition "I have made lots of mistakes but I have never been wrong", the viewers encounter this in the figure of a cowboy as the archetypical vehicle for an idea of masculinity that is heteronormative and white, a childhood hero that hasn't aged well but also never quite left. As flat as an advert, he can still trigger emotions that are familiar, maybe even nostalgic, but do not quite sit comfortably (anymore). The same mechanisms are at work when looking at Sirrell's quilts. A baby blanket whose sweet innocence is tainted by a crass statement or a fabric that seems to have been drenched in loss.
In the context of our online show and our exhibition LINGUA FRANCA (COULD YOU LINK "online show" to the online show page and "LINGUA FRANCA" to the L. F. Exhibition page?), we asked James Sirrell to tell us about what has inspired his work and the materials he uses. In two video essays, Sirrell speaks about smap sandwiches, adverts that do not work, and the violence of the colour blue.