Stuart Semple

Stuart Semple is one of London’s most exciting artists and his brand new exhibition Suspend Belief features paintings and installations to coincide with Frieze week. It’s the first time he’s put his paintings alongside the likes of his Happyclouds, a hologram, an inflatable bouncy, jumpy thing and radio white noise. It’s based in that massive building on Bloomsbury Square and features a granny floating in the air supported by her walking stick. We really recommend you get to see it if you can. Josh Jones had a chat with him as he set stuff up.

Hey Stuart, How are things? All good I hope?
Yes, thinks are great! I’m totally exhausted but otherwise all good!

So I guess I’ll start with the obvious. What’s going on with the floating granny?
It’s so weird… If you feed OAPs enough beans they start floating…. Everyone thinks she’s some kind if zen adept but she’s really just been on the Heinz!

This is a pretty grand setting for an exhibition – wasn’t it originally going to be in an old Town House?
Well it was going to be in a townhouse then at the last minute disaster struck and it couldn’t be used! But the good news is the heritage rooms in Victoria house, Bloomsbury Square stepped up to save the day. It’s a total twist of fate but the show looks so much better here than it would have in the house. In terms of grand settings this place is another level! I could never imagine showing somewhere like this… The show is across two floors and about 14 rooms and weirdly the environment just suits the show so well. It feels a bit like a gift from god or something.

You’re mixing up paintings and installations for the first time, including the awesome Happycloud Room, A HOLOGRAM, Big Bang noises and more. Which is your favourite part of the whole show?
Actually I think the hologram came out better than I hoped… It’s of me doing magic tricks and I’m pretty rubbish at that but overall it looks cool. I also like the painting rooms a lot the way you stroll through them – always good to have a little meander. And… the Jumping Room, that saved the day! Whenever I was tired or stressed during the install, a few minutes on that and you’re just basically fixed.

If you could only have a paintbrush, a chisel or a big lump of clay to work with for the rest of your life, which would you go for?
Paintbrush any day! You can stir your tea with it… Clean your ears out and sort out your eye shadow. Genius invention!

I read you write lyrics that resonate with you on a blackboard and then images of how you can use them to inspire you start forming. What’s on your blackboard at the moment?
Oh, I’m not near it, I can’t really remember…
My light will shine so brightly it will blind you.
Trying to break her click track heart.
Kidnap the professor’s niece. Sharing a low…. There’s loads. But nothing beats Girls Aloud’s version of ‘jump for my love’.

Photo: Tom Medwell


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