Layla Curtis (b.1975, UK) is a British artist whose practice has a focus on place, landscape and mapping. Her multi-form work examines the attempts we make to chart the earth, how we locate ourselves, navigate space and represent terrain. She is concerned with how we map borders and boundaries, both real and metaphorical, to define territories and to establish a sense of place. She explores how we perceive, make use of and interact with the spaces we inhabit. Often, she seeks to understand place by examining its connections with elsewhere.
Previous works include online interactive drawing Polar Wandering which uses GPS to track the artist’s 27,867-mile journey to Antarctica with the British Antarctic Survey in 2005; Trespass, (2015) a mobile phone app which uses geo-location and geo-fencing to tell the story of land ownership in Freeman’s Wood, Lancaster; Traceurs: to trace, to draw, to go fast (2008) a series of films which use thermal imaging technology to make visible the heat-traces left by parkour practitioners as they journey across the urban landscape; online archive Antipodes (2013) which pairs live webcam images from places on exact opposite sides of the planet; and immersive video and sound work Tong Tana (2012), a point-of-view film made in the Borneo rainforest whilst the artist visited the semi-nomadic indigenous hunter-gatherers, the Penan.
Curtis’ work features in several international collections including the Tate Collection, The New Art Gallery Walsall collection, Bodleian Libraries Map Collection, and the Government Art Collection.
Her work is exhibited widely and has been included in exhibitions such as Living History at Tate Modern, London, UK, and the Hayward National Touring Exhibition, You’ll Never Know: Drawing and Random Interference. Solo exhibitions include those at Spacex, Exeter (2013); Matt’s Gallery, London (2012); Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast (2008); The New Art Gallery Walsall (2006); Gimpel Fils, London (2006); and Milton Keynes Gallery (2000). International exhibitions include those at Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tourcoing, France; Pavilhão Lucas Nogueira Garcez-Oca in São Paulo, Brazil; and Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal, Canada.
Commissions and residencies include The Great North Run Moving Image Commission (2014), which led to a solo exhibition at The Gallery, Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle (2015); an Arts Council England International Fellowship to Antarctica (2005/6); and commissions by Film & Video Umbrella, Art on the Underground and Turner Contemporary. Curtis was artist in residence at Akiyoshidai International AV, Japan and selected for the Artangel Open Longlist 2014.
Layla Curtis is the founder of Edgework, an artist-run, cross-disciplinary journal and online store with a focus on place.
FIELDWORK Q&A – May 2020
How is fieldwork part of your practice?
How would you describe your fieldwork activity?
How are you currently sharing your fieldwork?