Statement, Biography & CV
Ema Mano Epps works strategically, researching and practically exploring material processes that relate to experiences which make an impression on the human body, with a focus on the skin. Through her consideration of the emotional resonances of physical experience, Ema draws out the associative properties of the materials that she employs, including glass, cloth, paper, metal, earth pigment and plaster.
The choice of materials is determined by their ability to take multiple states; for example, metal and glass can be both liquid and solid in their appearance, while paper and cloth can take two and three-dimensional form. These properties allow Ema to play with dualities such as ephemerality and permanence, fragility and strength. The ways in which the physical properties of the chosen materials are emphasised echoes the ways in which human behaviour affects the human body, mind and the environment. Tensions between different materials and forms- like contradictions within and amongst ourselves- are played out in relation to architectural space.
As such, the constellation of paradoxical dialogues between the works and space forms a haptic environment, striving towards a notional balance and sense of calm. The ambition is to create a harmonious ambience that is open to subjective interpretation by the viewer. The dialogues that are performed within and through the work aim to defy rational logic, with a view to placing the beholder in an enchanted physical and mental space. While the form of the work is sculptural, the artist refers to her art practice as three-dimensional painting.
Ema was shortlisted for the FiliA2018 Art award as an emerging female artist of the year and her work was exhibited in London, Manchester and Brasil. Her series Premonition - Seven Seasons opened to the public this September for the most visited MA Fine Art 2019 show at City and Guilds of London Art School.
Ema’s own explorations are in agreement with Juhani Palasmaa’s teachings in The eyes of the skin. The view that we first see with our skin, this places the dominance of perception in a democratic dialogue with our other senses.
Ema's art practice strategy demonstrates the importance of the unknown as a trigger employing intuition and arising wabi-sabi values that occur in the collaborative dialogue with material behaviour. Her thesis ‘Experience beyond logic.‘ focuses on materiality of cloth exploring the manifesting abilities of it as second skin. A behaviour of collapsing, leaping, hiding emerged through its morphing adaptability. The changes retained unbound from the formality of a structure.
1998 - 2018
Ema founded Platform 1 Gallery in 2005, the space was co-founded as a community art studio in 1998 with a group of local art students from Elliott School in Putney.
An exciting programme in 2018 marked a 20 year anniversary of Platform 1 Gallery, collaborations with Susan Merrick, Desparate Artwives (DAW), Intoon Dance and dialogues with the Museum of the Mind and Nightingale House. The collaboration with Intoon dance from WAF2018 ‘Please select City’ is currently a guest at Schenzen Fringe in China Nov’18.
Ema Mano Epps graduated as an Art Director from Central St Martins, majoring in photography in 2001. Her eye for detail won her a collaboration with Tate Modern, 2006-2009. 'Unofficial deposited records', a celebration project of the Borough area. Ema's photographic wrap was installed around the now, new Tate Modern wing. Her photography was also featured by Kodak with CSM world tour in 2001.
In respect of the appointment of the first woman director at Tate Modern, Ema collaborated in a live group Takeover, held at the front of the Gallery, endorsed by the Guerilla Girls, August 2017. Ema took part in the Colour Walk held at the V&A honouring Freda Kahlo’s courage and impact in culture and the arts, June 24th 2018. Ema participates and supports annual performances at the Cave in Pimlico and with DAW at Leyden Gallery E1 .
The artist’s interview was featured in the 'Old New' installation at the Design Museum opening exhibition, a piece by 'Special Projects' - Shoreditch in November 2016. In 2017 Ema was interviewed by Humans of London, by founder Cathy Teesdale.
Ema’s Platform1Gallery has hosted artist Norman Mine of Goldsmiths and award winning Zurich based performer Verica Kovachevska, Katy Howe of CSM, Teresa Albour of Kings College and Dagmara Billon of Himherandit Productions.
Ema's was a partner in an innovative robotic technology start up RoboFold, which merged global Avant Garde Architecture, Art and Design, focusing on material language specialising in folding and development of innovative making processes based on the language of materials. She co-organised Shape to Fabrication in 2014 celebrating the makers and Ideas behind London Olympics. In 2012 Ema assisted in managing, design and build of the Zaha Hadid Architects collaboration for Venice biennale's centre-piece 'Arum'.
From October 1st 2019 Ema takes the role of Chair of Students and Trustee and can be visited at her studio at City&Guilds of London Art School by appointment only.