The recent announcement of Adelaide-based artist Madison Bycroft as one of the 2014 Samstag Scholars rounds out what has already been a successful year. And 2014 is shaping up to be just as impressive. Bycroft spoke to me from New York, where she is completing a three-month residency, about the latest award and what lies ahead.
“I’m so excited about it,” Bycroft says. “Honestly the news was a really big surprise. I put a lot of time into the application and I really care about it. I was really invested in it but at the same time I was not expecting it.” The Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship is awarded to artists to complete one year of study overseas in visual arts. When Bycroft discovered that artists Mikala Dwyer and Louise Haselton were on the selection panel, she felt honoured as they are both artists whose practice she aspires to. “I’m very chuffed,” says Bycroft. “I’m not too sure about schools yet. At the moment I think it will end up being in London but I’m also quite interested in a school in Rotterdam, Piet Zwart, and also the Glasgow School of Art.” Bycroft is a sculptor, performance artist and video artist. While her sculpture work has been a more recent development, she has already received recognition for it, being awarded the Fleurieu Youth Sculpture Commission 2013. “The video work was the thing that got me engaged in the theoretical, sculpture came later,” she says. Her practice has taken what she describes as a sequential journey with one thing leading onto the next. Initially Bycroft was a little hesitant about making the move into sculptural practice. “I didn’t like the idea of creating more stuff in the world. I feel like there is so much around so as much as possible I like to use found materials or reclaimed materials,” she explains. In both her sculpture and video work Bycroft mainly focuses on ideas surrounding animism. “I am interested in ideas concerning the animal and I guess that has extended over the last couple of years to include the `other’.” She describes her video works as little experiments where she sets about exploring her own relationship to the `other’. “They are about how I can undo my own humanity in order to understand otherness.” Bycroft is attracted to the performance element of working with video. She isn’t focused on the medium itself but instead sees it as the most direct way of capturing intuitive performance. “It’s not really me doing video for the sake of video, its kind of performance to camera.” Only a few days into the New York residency when we spoke, Bycroft isn’t really sure what work will come out of the experience and is approaching it with an open mind. With a keen interest in philosophy, no doubt Bycroft will continue to expand the theory behind her practice. Next year Bycroft will take part in Safari 2014 (the unofficial fringe event to the Biennale of Sydney) and she will also present a collaborative work with Melbourne based artist Elvis Richardson at a group show at Fontanelle. Bycroft’s work for the Fleurieu Youth Sculpture Commission will show at Wirra Wirra Winery until Monday, November 25. madisonbycroft.com Images Courtesy of Madison Bycroft