Jennifer Mackay lives and works in Rouen.
Born in 1976 in Madrid to a Chilean expatriate father after Pinochet’s coup d’état and a French mother in search of adventure.
A part of childhood in the pram surrounded by the animations provided by parents inventing themselves weavers of pearls on the markets of Madrid of a Spain in full “Movida”.
First turn in 1979 in the maternal luggage, destination the island of Reunion with a stopover of a few months in Mauritius. Animals, vegetation, cyclones and several months speaking an incomprehensible dialect made of Spanish, French and an Hindu dialect…
Integrated French and rejected Spanish, 8 years of childhood in the teeming Reunion of the island’s multiple cultures between Asia and the East: colours of saries and boubous, Voodoo magic or Hindu transes of firewalkers. A colourful and wild childhood punctuated with trips back to Spain and paternal bohemian life.
Second turn in 1988, arrival in autumn opposite the abbey church of Saint-Ouen, in Rouen. The streets are big, the light grey, the people cold.
Marked teenage years of atypical encounters leading to the Chemin des Beaux-Arts in 1996.
Between joy and disappointment, five years of inner journey. Joy because you are in your place, there are interactions, discoveries, possibilities, workshops, material, in short a self-centered universe centered on the expressive interior.
Disappointment because one learns little or nothing about drawing and painting at that time, and that everything tends towards the conceptual, form rather than substance, discourse rather than the heart?!
Both out of curiosity and ease, a door opens to photography. The work in the darkroom and the capture of time end up acting on very intimate concerns: the body, the home, the couple, the trans-generational bonds. Through the self portrait, the search for the inner/outer relationship already expressed at that time from a female point of view: fabric corset, bronze plaster corset. Fix the passing of time and the invisible metamorphoses already in action.
Third turn, graduated from the Beaux Arts and First Birth in 2001!
Five years of emptiness, full and true.
2007: Resumption of plastic research in the first of the many workshops that will follow. Free yourself from the Beaux-arts years, work alone, and refine your eyes.
Drawing: Draw relentlessly to express writing as accurately as possible.
First choice of demonstration, a workshop in 2010, gable on street, accessible to all, passers-by, amateurs or professionals. To be in interaction, sometimes even in confrontation, to create provocations, reactions. A way like any other to get out of anonymity and loneliness, to provoke an almost bureaucratic and constraining rigour of work since visible by all. The object takes place in a “jewel case” that the workshop scenarios, stretching its shapes on the papers stretched on the walls to the bottles and globes containing the material of the stories to come. The laboratory or the curiosity cabinet reappropriated, a universe in its own right where the proliferation of alternative encounters and projects are born.
Three years of cycle like the renewal of the blood in the body, larger and larger drawings and the imprint of the gesture make clear place.
Questioning, doubting and a new turn. Stop.
End of lease. 2013.
In between, back home?! Little or no room for the mechanics of drawing, and proposals for installation across the city that engages a creative process change.
No paper but canvas, big and big sheets of linen recovered from family cupboards, from women to women.
Thread and needle gradually replace the pencil and turpentine, unconscious or not return on the grid of the concerns of the Fine Arts years. The very place of creation being the home, the sofa, the bed, nothing surprising to immerse oneself in the purpose of the body, the interior and the place or not that one takes there?
Coherence and interaction of the place as a leitmotiv finally brought to light…
2014, opportunity as witness, new workshop on the street. Assembling the different media in a new space, larger, clearer and offering the possibility of diverse collaboration, both in dialogue of the works created and in proposals for alternative plastic and artistic expressions in a city as conservative as Rouen.
Performances, installations, invitations, interns and dialogue with the new generation of art students in the region.
2017, the loop is closed, not a chapter but a volume ends. The attachment to a place is no longer necessary, the repetition of gestures and practices lead to confidence and make it possible to create or whatever.
End of lease, the journey resumes….