Dancing to a tune of radiant exhaustion

Jade Montserrat (1981 - )

ink, crayon, watercolour, pencil, pencil crayon, felt-tip, pen and gouache on paper

2015 - 2017
  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Art Collection

    Jade Montserrat creates works on paper and performances exploring race, the body and language. Combining quotations with her own writing, Montserrat refers to her watercolours and drawings as dissemination tools. Sometimes the words and fragments point towards a specific reference.

    She had discovered the meaning of true abandon (GAC 18954) and The glamour of her homemade stage (GAC 18955) evoke her long-term preoccupation with the dancer, French Resistance agent and civil rights activist Josephine Baker. Montserrat’s performance Shadowing Josephine, which premiered in 2013 at The Art Party Conference in Scarborough, forms a cornerstone of her subsequent practice, and involved the artist dancing to exhaustion.

    The line Dancing to a tune of radiant exhaustion (GAC 18951) also appeared in Montserrat’s spoken performance text No Need for Clothing published in Daylight (Wellcome Collection, issue 1, October 2018).

    In other cases, her text works on paper are brief traces of a conversation or an experience. Montserrat's words are inextricably linked to her ongoing exploration of building spaces of belonging and care. In 2018, she was commissioned by Art on the Underground to produce a new design for the London tube map cover and a series of posters. These pencil and watercolour text pieces are similar in addressing instances of injustice with a sense of urgency and poetry.

  • About the artist
    Jade Montserrat is a research-led artist and writer who studied History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art (2000–03) and Drawing at Norwich University of the Arts (2008–10). She is a Stuart Hall Foundation PhD Candidate at the Institute of Black Atlantic Research, The University of Central Lancashire (2017–20, ongoing). Montserrat works at the intersection of art and activism through drawing, painting, performance, film, installation, sculpture, print and text. The artist interrogates these media with the aim of exposing gaps in our visual and linguistic habits. Recent selected screenings, performances and presentations include: ‘Constellations: Care and Resistance’, Manchester Art Gallery (2020), as the first Future Collect commissioned artist funded by Art Fund and Arts Council England; ‘Instituting Care’, Humber Street Gallery (2019); and ‘Shadowing Josephine’ screenings at Arnolfini, and Spike Island, Bristol (2017). Montserrat works collaboratively with artist and performance collectives including Network 11, Press Room, the Conway Cohort and Rainbow Tribe: Affectionate Movement.
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  • Details
    Dancing to a tune of radiant exhaustion
    2015 - 2017
    ink, crayon, watercolour, pencil, pencil crayon, felt-tip, pen and gouache on paper
    height: 26.7 cm; width: 18.0 cm
    Purchased from the artist March 2021, through the Art XUK project 2020-21
    The artist; from whom purchased by UK Government Art Collection, 23 March 2021
    GAC number