Artist interview: Jane McAdam Freud

‘I think I am still in love with John Baldessari for the time being’

What is your art practice?

My current practice contains experimentation on the lines of making psychological concepts manifest. It is based around the nominal (as opposed to the phenomenal). By nominal I refer to the psychologic definition rather than the philosophical one that is the Freudian rather than the Kantian.


I look at the object as sensory instructor when the object is viewed from an intuitive angle; the impact the object’s image has on the unconscious act, like being in a bed-shop and wanting to lie down;  also the sensory as promoter of action- i.e. how the sensory system acts as its own sort of instructor, for example running water’s instruction to the bladder.


Who or what influences your work?

My surroundings influence my work. With the overall direction as laid out above the material content becomes enmeshed in the activities and events that are current in my life. For example, I am currently artist in residence at Harrow and it’s educational ethos and discarded objects have become my subject and my medium. I am making works from those available discarded objects found around the School.


Which artist do you admire and wish you could have been?

Gosh so many – far too many to mention here! The question is so broad and there would be at least a dozen in each century going back to the caveman. Since I saw his show in NY a few years back I think I am still in love with John Baldessari for the time being.


Is there a piece of work you wish you had never made, why?

Not really as if I hate it that much or feel ashamed then that feeling in itself is information for me that may give me some sort of instruction even if as limited as – you need to look more closely at that aspect of your practice. After all Art is an experiment in the  beginning – and in the end so ……


If time and money were no object what would you make?

I’m not sure if it is about time and money in reality as the drive to make is so powerful that throughout history we have seen impoverished artists and also students achieve quite extraordinary feats of endeavour.

Having said that If confidence in managing people and systems were not a limitation I think I might be able to organise the making of grander public project proposals in a way that takes the back breaking effort out of it but in reality it seems easier to make a thing myself in my limited way. My work is about meaning and any massively scaled up work would have no greater meaning due to its scale – but eh it might look really cool.


What would you change about the art school system now, apart from the fees?

It’s a pretty good system I think. What worries me most is that society doesn’t value such a brilliant all round education enough and too many are persuaded away from Art School into business or some other lesser ‘mind enhancing’ activity. Art schools produce individuals who know how to think. This is what the most creative societies must have to compete and contribute to progress. What I mean by progress is a truly ‘civilised’ civilisation, not technological pride in the name of progress.

Jane’s website