frieze video - 04 Jan 2019

The First Painting Goshka Macuga Ever Bought

The Polish artist discusses the spirit behind Eileen Agar’s Cleopatra which sits atop a pile of National Geographic magazines in her studio

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‘At the time she made this work, Eileen Agar visited a Tutankhamun exhibition at the British Museum, and this could be influenced by it. 

I have a statement within which potential references of this work are listed and all of them are completely fascinating, but I don’t think that the painting is based on any deep research. She was somebody who made work in a quite spontaneous and free way.’ 

For the latest instalment of ‘The Thing’, London-based artist Goshka Macuga discusses the beauty of British painter and photographer Eileen Agar's Cleopatra (1979); the first painting she ever bought. Pondering on what drew her to the work, which includes fragments of the world’s map, Macuga believes that it is exciting when you can explore an object but can never completely capture it: ‘It is an endless discovery and it looks fresh and contemporary after fifty years.’ 

Goshka Macuga, born 1967, was nominated for the 2008 Turner Prize. She has exhibited work at London’s Whitechapel Gallery, dOCUMENTA (13) and is currently one of the participating artists at the 2018 Kochi-Muziris Biennale currently on view until 29 March. 

‘The Thing’ is a new series of eight short films starring Jarvis Cocker, Neil Tennant, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Goshka Macuga, Jeremy Scott, Hank Willis Thomas, Eric Mack and Haegue Yang. For the series, Frieze asked each artist to choose a single object of significance from their working or living environment and discuss what makes it special. Directed by Peter Strickland and produced by Jacqui Edenbrow, the series is based on a long-running frieze d/e magazine column, ‘Das Ding’, featuring artists such as Brian O'DohertyAdrian Piper and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. Read all the previous series’ respondents here