Jacob Sirkin was born in San Francisco, California but grew up in Paris, France. He currently lives in London, England and is completing a BA in Fine Art in the 3D Pathway of Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.
Diploma in Professional Studies, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, 2022-2023
BA Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, 2020-2024
Foundation Diploma in Arts & Design, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, 2019-2020
In Medias Res, 4th to the 11th July 2022, co-organiser and curator along with Kathy Murillo and participating artist
Compost @ Charlie’s Garden, 26th May 2022, Laocoon is dead, Studio Lights, Trimming front garden, Trimming back garden, site-specific sculpture installation
Central Saint Martins Spring 2022 Open Studio, Transforming Thick Space, multimedia installation in collaboration with Fran Hayes
Central Saint Martins Exhibition as Process event (January 2022), Aperture, multimedia in collaboration with Alice Helps, Amber Baker, Harry Mayer, Diego Gabaldon, and Charlotte Henry
Biennale Donna Trieste 2019, Voyage, end-of-year exhibition in collaboration with United World College of the Adriatic
The Site of Practice, June 2022
The importance of site and its definition are at the core of the inquiry which runs through my practice. First and foremost, as a physical area, but quickly stretching to a mental space, one whose conceptual grounding serves as a viewpoint from which to overlook history and the social, material values resultant.
Site is the place where the viewer encounters the work. This ambiguity serves as a source of inspiration for much of the work that you will see. The studio is the first culprit to be investigated, or rather the canvas stretcher and its form. This object introduces the figuration being undertaken in much of what’s to follow, a wavering balance between the symbol of tradition and history of the functional within fine art. Shapes are fractured and time’s flow is interrupted, as the works manifest themselves at different points throughout the process. At times, a skeleton or framework serves as a sculpture to be seen in space. At others, the work remains stubbornly attached to the wall, depicting abstracted spaces reminiscent of the gallery and its white walls.
Painting in this case, is sculpture. Material is used as representation but also as code, or object. Recognition is a vital tool in much of what you see. Understanding the space, you are looking at, and knowing it is real is a lost privilege. The virtual takes over, and a questioning of space as neutral ground solidifies, while economy of means and of currency underlie a preoccupation with the image and its power.
A restraint of materials, and close attention to the origins and lifecycles of such magnify an interest in the form within fine art, and the icons of form which persist today. Tradition is an absent father, whose genetic shadow casts a dark light. Craft and the rules inherent are probed and involved, similarly to other areas within the arts such as design. The functional as a concept defined by its site allow for a questioning of the boundaries between disciplines and roles that we have as makers.
A breaking occurs, and the agency of the viewer is fulfilled in relation to the viewing spaces. Immersion within light and framework combine painting and sculpture. Larger scale works whose installation and curation explore the physical space around the viewer, but also the virtual worlds which we all inhabit. Collaboration, and the dialogue it allows become an opportunity to wander away from the confines of the white walled gallery. The beginnings of a practice whose studio is merely a conceptual training ground are in view. In the end, you, the viewer, are the key who gets to decide.
Statement as Outcome, January 2022
As you enter this white plane, you can discern various perspectives. Some appear to be real places and objects, basic constructions from simple materials. Others are less defined, appearing digital, existing virtually in a conceived space. This uncanny melting of dimensions draws questions surrounding our ability to differentiate between our two modes of existence; the physical one, defined by our senses and our bodies, and the digital one, defining many of our lives in ways we often feel uneasy thinking about. It is with dread that I realise that the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is to check my phone. When looking at my work, there is another constant: that of the white cube. Almost a century old and yet just as relevant as it ever was, if not more so in the digital age. As our existence is divided, our aesthetic values defined and entrenched by tradition and the institutions which forge our visual environments have integrated themselves to the core of my practice. It is surrounded by white that one can reflect on their environment and question the void.
Looking around, you wonder how long these things have been here. How long have you been here? Much of my work is divided by questions surrounding time and space. Whereas some projects sit stubbornly in the real as sculptural objects, questioning the limit of their own functionality, and inherently only appear in front of the viewer if he finds himself in the same room, others exist as virtual spaces, void of our physical definitions of time. They exist in the metaverse, where time exists in many forms, on many scales. This vacillating is exemplified by the material concerns of my work, anchored physically by a stubborn reliance on the form of tradition within the discipline of fine art. One finds wood, canvas and paint, and the frames which these have been used to build and liven. Very quickly, I become preoccupied with the theoretical limits of these materials. The projection has become a vessel of meaning pertaining to our visual existence and the limitations of our perception. Virtual photography and architecture follow in turn. Sometimes, real objects or even places lose footing, appearing virtually. Yet we never see ourselves: the audience. This makes us ever more aware of our presence as spectators, and yet as we look, we are the spark that brings the work alive. Without the viewer, the work ceases to exist.
Like with everything in my practice, the audience is divided. Sometimes the inhabitants of the institution surrounding me, other times friends or strangers in the digital plane, questions surrounding the intention of my choices. I rely heavily on the human element to be found in the history of my materials. My wood is almost always scrap, interrupted in its cycle of existing as a functional item within our institution, I highlight its previous signs of use by other students. Sometimes, this institution forces me to directly question my role as author of my work, interposing a technician at the core of my process. These parameters are all linked by preoccupations with value, be it economic or aesthetic. My practice is resumed by dichotomies, between the real and the virtual, between the author and the viewer, between the physical and the conceptual, and how all these things create a context in which value is calculated and questioned.