Limerick, Ireland
Jennifer Cunningham, Preparation, 2002, etching, 27 x 45 cm

Jennifer Cunningham

b. 1978, Ireland

It is before the other that I am guilty first when, beneath the others look I experience my nakedness and my alienation as a fall from grace, which I must assume. This is the meaning of the famous line from scripture, ‘they knew that they were naked’.

— Jean-Paul Sartre Existentialism and Humanism (Methuen, London, 1985)

I specialise in the more traditional aspects of printmaking, particularly etching. My work is figurative, with a strong narrative content. I am looking at how people relate to each other, how they develop throughout childhood, and how they assume personas in order to fit into society. I use masks to represent the persona – ‘there will be time to prepare a face to meet the faces that you will meet’ [TS Eliot, The Love Song of Alfred J Prufrock] – and have stark empty backgrounds to heighten the air of tension. This also concentrates one’s attention on the figures and the relationships that go on between them.

Everybody is the other and no one is himself.

— Karl Jaspers HJ Blackham (ed), Six Existentialist Thinkers (Routledge & Keegan Paul, London, 1978)

(Text: on the border of each other catalogue, 2003)

Back to Artists