Artist Interview | Flore Gardner


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FLORE GARDNER’s work protocol based on daily drawing practice, notably making one drawing per day, a small, secret drawing in a notebook which is then transformed through processes of enlargement, translation and repetition. Subjects include the ordinary (part-)body, human, animal or otherworldly, altered, twisted or gone wrong.

What drives your passion – when did you know that art is what you wanted to do?
Drawing is what I love to do, and what I spend all my time doing. Even when I’m doing something else (reading, peeling potatoes, walking in town) I realise my mind is with my drawing. I just couldn’t do anything else. I suppose I have always drawn since I was wee, but it was a hidden, secret activity, and it has taken me 40 years and a few detours to be brave enough to do only this.

How did you get where you are now in your career?
Two years doing medicine at Edinburgh University, running away from my family, a PhD in Fine Art in Paris, then lots of work and trying to find exhibition opportunities. And finally, more recently, a very important residency for me, Space/Time (Magnetic North) at Cove Park, during I was at last brave enough to show my drawing and decided to concentrate solely on this practice.

What do you make and what are the ideas behind what you make?
All my practice is (with)drawing, from hundreds of secret diary drawings to large semi-automatic wall-drawings, from tiny collages to durational performance-drawings. My work protocol is based on my daily drawing practice, notably making one drawing per day, a small secret drawing in a notebook which I then transform into a further drawing through processes of enlargement, translation and repetition. My subjects are the ordinary (part-)body, human, animal or otherworldly, altered, twisted or gone wrong; and repetition through growth or patterns, geometric, vegetal or organic.

Through my drawing, I am interested in the unlike, formlessness, wrongness, the un(be)seen, the uncanny, the mad, the out-of-the-ordinary, odd or strange, the underground, obscure, and latent, that which is (un)hidden or (with)drawn. My drawing has to do with blindness, it has no interest in representing anything seen, but rather echoes the otherness of the world, inside-ness, and ex-centric seeing.

What inspires you?
I spend a lot of time looking at and collecting images – these could be old found photos, pictures cut out from magazines or taken from the Internet, anonymous found images, pictures from old medical books or others – and often a detail (a punctum) in one of the images will initiate a drawing.

Where do you work? What is your average working day?
I work in my studio at home, so everyday life and work tends to be tangled up. As soon as everyone is off to school/work, I can start my proper work-day in my space, from about 8am to 5pm. But actually, I’m working all the time, in-between my daily duties, as soon as I have a bit of time I will be making a little drawing somewhere or reading a book to do with work or searching for images.

What are you working on now?
I’ve just come back from a 2-week residency, Rough Mix (Magnetic North) in Peebles with a group of other artists from different fields (music, theatre, dance). We focused on experimentation, research and production in collaboration. I approached the idea that “drawing=thinking” through the creation of a collaborative, immersive wall-drawing.

I am in the process of animating one of my larger drawings for Bonkers 2017, which I will use to create a wall-drawing during the exhibition. And I am continuing to do my daily drawings and research, which comprises the basis of all my work.

In what way does being Scottish/being in Scotland influence your work?
It’s not being Scottish that influences my work, but rather being Scottish and French, feeling in-between all the time, between two languages, countries, cultures and even two ways of seeing. This inherent doubleness in my identity is reflected in much of my work through ideas of wrongness and madness.

See more of Flore’s works at

Bonkers Contemporary 2017 opens on 5 October at The Biscuit Factory in Edinburgh.

Flore Gradner, La Condition feminine, 2017

Flore Gardner, Paysage Interieur, 2017

Flore Gardner, Insides-Out, 2016

Flore Gardner, Red Drawing, 2016