Jessica Harrison RSA: ‘Working with a wide variety of materials from porcelain and paint to marble and digital collage, my practice explores the fluctuating relationship between the body and the space/things around it. How we look at, touch, perceive and navigate the world defines the shape of the body, and in turn, the shape of the body defines our interpretation of the space/things around us. As technology increasingly shapes our lives, abilities and ways of thinking, the way we behave, look at and negotiate the world is also changing. Definitions of the body are evolving, whilst still seemingly inexorably tied to traditional ideas of boundaries, gender and sexuality.


Informed by these evolving ways of looking, and by extension, evolving ways of knowing, I work with scavenged images and systems of knowledge to explore the pathways between the body, the Internet and technology, proposing re-imaginings of these definitions and relationships. Part coping mechanism, part learning strategy and part suggestion of an alternative shape to our perception of things, my practice looks to spaces between looking and touching, between the real and the virtual, between the analogue and the digital, between maker and viewer, object and image - indefinite spaces that raise questions about the value of reproduction and simulation, particularly in relation to digital technology and authenticity.


This research is process led, hinged on a fundamental fallibility of the body and types of knowledge that can be generated through mistakes and inexperience in the making, understanding and methods of sharing. Mistakes reveal gaps between knowledge and action, something that I exploit as a research tool and as an aesthetic choice, opening up a dialogue that allows a way into subjects that those with a flawless finish do not have.


In following failures and unexpected results from processes threaded with mistakes, the fallibility of the acts of making, looking and sharing can be unpicked and re-woven to generate objects that reflect on the unrelenting technological shifts taking place in the world, of which we ultimately have no control.’


Jessica Harrison RSA was born in 1982 in St Bees. She studied Fine Art at the University of Edinburgh and completed her PhD in Sculpture there in 2013. She lives and works in Edinburgh. In 2015 she was artist in residence at the European Ceramic Workcentre (EKWC), the Netherlands, returning in 2017 to undertake a second residency. In 2019 she was invited by EKWC to make a new body of work in Jingdezhen, China for an exhibition of work that toured China throughout 2019/2020/2021, celebrating 50 years of the Workcentre.


Exhibitions include Found Figurines, Kunstforum Solothurn, Switzerland; Broken, Jupiter Artland, Edinburgh; AWARD, British Ceramics Biennale, Stoke-on-Trent; Taste of Ceramics, Taoxichuan Ceramic art Gallery, Jingdezhen, China; Jerwood Makers Open, Jerwood Space, London ; Between Poles and Tides, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh; CERAMIX, Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht, The Netherlands; Dismaland, The Tropicana, Weston-Super-Mare; Sexy Ceramics, Keramiekmuseum Princesshof, Leeuwarden; Body and Soul; contemporary international ceramics, Museum of Art and Design, New York. Harrison’s work is represented in numerous international collections, including the Ariana Museum, Switzerland; the Princesshof Ceramic Museum, the Netherlands; the University of Edinburgh Art Collection; Pallant House Gallery; the Royal Scottish Academy; and the New Art Gallery Walsall; and many private collections worldwide. Her work can be seen in Vitamin C: Clay and Ceramic in Contemporary Art, recently published by Phaidon.