East Village by Way of East London: Studio Visit with Zoe Buckman

I recently visited the East Village studio of English artist Zoe Buckman with the American Friends of the Israel Museum (AFIM). Buckman works in various mediums such as photography, sculpture, neon, embroidery, and installation art. 

Prior to the studio visit, I came across multiple articles about how Buckman preserved her placenta through plastination and turned it into a marble-encased sculpture. I will admit that I did not initially think this sounded very appealing. However, upon hearing Buckman speak, I was much more appreciative of the work. Buckman gave birth to her daughter through a home birth and learned from the midwife that her placenta had partially depleted and would have caused a miscarriage if she did not give birth early. Significantly, the plastination process took nine months to complete at the Institute for Plastination in Germany.

The placenta sculpture is part of Buckman's series titled “Present Life,” which explores transience, permanency, and mortality. The series includes photographs of flowers that Buckman received after her daughter's birth, which she photographed as they decayed, thus preserving them as reminders of mortality (memento mori for all my art history buffs!).

My favorite works were from the series titled “Every Curve,” which explores “the contradictory and complimentary influences of Feminism and Hip Hop” in the artist's upbringing. Hanging around the studio were vintage lingerie pieces that she hand-embroidered with lyrics by Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.  These two artists had the most prominent influence on her youth in East Hackney.  

Born in 1985, Buckman is a relatively young artist.  She was also incredibly warm, sincere, and charming. look forward to following her work in the future.

For more info on Zoe Buckman, visit her website at www.zoebuckman.com