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Print (MA)

Ellen Burroughs

I work with collage, drawing, print, installation and sound, seeking to reflect human behaviour, with subtle distortion; emphasising absurdity, hypocrisy or moral uncertainty where I find it. The bizarre in the banal, the odd in the ordinary. I hope to inspire closer scrutiny of the human world, its rules and rituals.

Playing with imagery, words, sounds and ideas found in strange and disparate places: from scientific journals to bot-generated YouTube clickbait, I frequently draw parallels between the psychological journey of the individual and the trajectory of society’s ‘progress’.

I have worked as a technician in printmaking for 8 years, supporting Higher Education courses and launching my own collaborative enterprise, in West Yorkshire where I live, supporting experimental print and drawing research and producing editions with other early career artists from different disciplines.

Show Location: Battersea campus: Dyson & Woo Buildings, First floor and mezzanine

Installation view, Southwark Park Gallery, 2022. Photo by Harry Masson

Touching the chair

Noticing the floor

Feel your jaw and tongue relax

You are completely supported by the chair beneath you

The series of works created under the Title ‘Deskbound’ explore the relationship between office workers and their work environments, as they attempt to sustain often illusory physical and mental health in order to survive the 9 to 5. 

I was fascinated by the phenomenon of office workers seeking exercises online, stretches for the body and hypnosis for the mind, to cope with the mental and physical strain of ‘deskbound’ work. Drawing on an instructional book published in 1984, I parody these culturally appropriated and commodified techniques such as yoga, tai chi and meditation, suggesting the absurdity of these practices in an office setting.

During lockdown, I became aware of those working from home seeking ‘ASMR’ office videos games and sounds with an apparent nostalgia for the look and feel of the work spaces that are in fact places where repetitive strain, poor lighting and air-quality, combined with a demanding, monotonous stream of work, were potentially risking their health.

I Know That There Will Always Be More Tasks Waiting: That I Cannot Get a Breath Back From the Past, Nor Can I Make a Future Breath Come Any Sooner

Film, 16.41 mins