Read the interview with Artist Louisa Love
Louisa Love is a Dover-born contemporary artist with a varied and multilayered practice encompassing sculpture, installation, writing, research, curation and collaborative activity. Interested in the nature of the artistic process, Louisa continually seeks to shift and test her practice to investigate the complex relationships between making, researching, thinking and presenting.
What attracted you to working on the CHALKUP21 project?
I’ve worked closely with DAD on numerous projects over the last few years and am also based in Dover, so I have a number of strong connections to the area, personally and artistically. I was excited to have the opportunity to work with them again on a major public project. Also, ChalkUp21 is significant in how it combines contemporary architecture, art, walking, landscape and tourism etc — for me these are really relevant and valuable contexts in which to keep developing elements of my practice. I also think the project will be important for Dover in the way it’ll enhance it as a destination and help to join up the town in different ways.
What is your involvement with the project?
I am leading two exploratory artist walks along the trail as well as writing a text for the project, which will discuss walking as a form of artistic production.
Tying in with the Up On The Downs summer festival, the two walks (the first took place on 22nd July & the second on Saturday 5th August 2017) will encourage engagement with the architectural features of the ChalkUp21 trail through creative documentary activity and action, considering and capturing the different sensory experiences it has to offer.
In terms of the text I’m writing, I’d like for it to feel somewhat representative of the experience of walking, both in its content and the way it is written or read. For me, the process of writing is very much like the process of walking and I often like to approach artist texts in a way that navigates these things quite symbolically. I’ll have to see if this approach actually for this particular piece works in the end! But I hope both the text and the walks will be interesting and accessible on different levels – the two outputs very much inform each other.
Could you tell us more about your artistic practice, and how your practice links to the project?
I work very broadly across sculpture, installation, video, writing, research, walking and collaborative, curatorial activity. What I’m interested in fundamentally is the artistic process itself – how different ideas and modes of doing (making, thinking, researching and presenting) are navigated in different contexts. Various projects over the last three years or so have made me particularly interested in the landscape and in walking as a process of production, through which I think many strands of practice and context seem to connect up. The combination of walking, thinking, writing and documenting is currently an approach I’m finding very productive as a form of sculptural engagement with space and place; with ChalkUp21’s focus on architecture and other contemporary creative practice to create a trail, it’s a very fitting project to be involved in.
Also, my process as an artist is very experimental and always about openly exploring or testing something; the ChalkUp21 trail and activity of the project really invites this— both for me as an artist, through the walks for example, and for the public, through participation in the events and through experiencing the trail themselves.
Which area(s) along the trail do you feel is often overlooked, but should be celebrated?
In some ways, I think Dover docks and the ferry port is really overlooked. It’s an area that feels quite industrial and is all about the monotonous flow of traffic, but if you follow the path from Athol Terrace that runs past it right up to the cliffs, you see that it’s a really quite fascinating place. I love standing on the path at the point where the Jubilee Way fly-over crosses over or on the cliffs at the National Trust Centre and looking out across the port – it’s full of activity, rich in its infrastructure, and also really puts into perspective our relationship to nature and the rest of the world.
What would be your trail tips or places of note along the trail?
I think the walk along the cliffs from The Wing at Capel-le-Ferne towards Dover is pretty spectacular – particularly on a beautiful day, the views are breathtaking. That coastal path that takes you right along the cliff edge is fascinating not only visually but also in terms of the terrain and the way it heightens your sense of awareness of your movements through the landscape. I also like the National Trust visitor centre for its offerings as a building and as a scenic stoppage point, and the clifftop walk from there to St Margarets or all the way to Kingsdown or Deal is really beautiful.
A general tip for experiencing the trail would be just to look and sense around you as much as you can – take in the sounds, the textures, the different structures and terrains as well as the sights. There are so many things to absorb wherever you go; you can’t take them all in of course but the fundamental thing about walking is that it can really open up the senses and allow you to connect to a place in such a new, layered way.