Jess Holdengarde (she/her )
Jess Holdengarde (b.1991) is a South African artist who works predominantly in photography, film and auto fictional narrative. Her current practice investigates theories of entanglement and precarity in relationship to the natural environment with auto-ethnographical experiences of temporality and loss. Holdengarde’s work considers the role of a lensed based practitioner in an ecological crisis, attempting to further a deeper engagement to her immediate surroundings. Jess is currently living and working in Glasgow, UK.
Please find the open letters and campaign by our senior peers which was removed by GSA from this platform last year at www.gsamfa.net, and more information about the UK-wide Pause or Pay campaign at www.pauseorpayuk.org.
Wild Submissions (1), 2021
“I came across something, somewhere: an object that I wanted to bring back with me but had to leave behind. The place where I found the object is about three hours NW from where I live now. We had driven through Glen Coe, and over the bridge past Fort William. After passing the salmon farm to our right and looking out for the big white rock on the left, we arrived at the gate of the caravan park” (excerpt, Intangible Matter, 2021)
Intangible Matter employs the use of language, environmental recording and auto-fictional narrative to hold onto an intangible object, space, place and time. This project was originally presented for the MFA online showcase GLUE.
Available to view here
There was something about the way we stood, in complete darkness
– engulfed in it.
Quietly, we counted down the seconds until an image would emerge. Meditative in the counting. Present in the creation of an image or non-image. The world stood – the image is still. We use time to co-create something that doesn’t resemble anything in particular, but instead presents us with the conflict of time itself. It moulds the matter into a form. She whispers, “How many seconds was that?” Light seeps through the cracks of the window frames. I can’t see anything, I can only hear the alchemy of the tray moving back and forth. We wait to see a glimpse of something…possibly nothing. She flicks the switch and the soft presence of an image is shimmering. Ghost like.
Permanently engraved – frozen in time.
Precarious Nature (Capturing a matter so precarious: The age of making in the Anthropocene), 2021, 61 pages, 14.3cm x 20cm, First edition of 5 copies. Construction: Printed by Bookworks, London.
The paper used in this book utilises algal blooms from fragile marine areas.
Digital Archive of sounds recorded are Here.
Precarious Nature, 2020, Audio Visual HD, 15.12min
Wild Submissions uses naturally foraged and alternative homemade chemistry to create sustainable photographic silver gelatin prints. The project presents an alternative analogue process that embraces the temporal and shifting environment it is made within. Each edition is slightly different; varied tones and shades emerge as the photograph medium submits itself to the “imperfect” nature of the natural world and its’ temporal existence.
This series of sustainable silver gelatin prints attempts to adopt a practiced pattern of noticing that considers the multilayered and dependent web of our ecology and in turn prepares us for a future of making that embraces the precarious and possibly even the wild. This way of working, demands surrendering to a deeper understanding and acknowledgment of theories that consider entanglement and precarity.
To engage with a practice that is a little more “wild” is to submit ourselves to a force of nature; the complex mesh of the natural, the wild, the precarious and maybe even the intuitive. In doing so, these works consider a rich world of emerging futures and possibilities that sits beyond and outside of our current ecological crisis of now.
a holding place
a holding place is the first edition of 20 handbound artist books made by Lydia Davies and Jess Holdengarde. In response to Holdengarde’s work Intangible Matter, this collaboration employs fiction and correspondence to create a re-telling of an intangible object; the story of a dead bird found in the ashes of a fireplace which has to be left behind, and the periphery that frames the scene. a holding place is a refuge for a story lived and lost over and over. Exploring loss and grief, the writing grasps at something that needs to be let go. As it is retold, the narrative morphs as some details slip away and new details come to the fore.
50 pages, 180x130mm. First edition of 20 copies.
Construction: Printed by Gelatinprint, Glasgow, and perfect bound by hand.