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Autumn Lecture: Biggs and Collings

Thurs 5 October 2017 - 7.30pm at Firstsite

Tickets £6 / £4 concessions - available from Firstsite or call 01206 577067

Emma Biggs and Matthew Collings are collaborative painters. Their work is represented by Vigo, London, and is in many collections both in the UK and abroad. It has been featured in several books, the latest is ‘Co-Art: Artists on Creative Collaboration’, by Ellen Mara De Yachter, published this year by Phaidon. They are currently working on a large version of their paintings executed in mosaic, for the exterior of the newly restored Fruit and Wool Exchange opposite Spitalfields market in East London. As well as their joint painting work, each is known for other things:- Emma Biggs is a professional mosaicist working partly for intentional clients and partly independently; Matthew Collings is a writer on art and TV broadcaster (his series ‘This Is Modern Art’ won a Bafta among other awards).

‘Our paintings are abstract and typically take the form of intricate patterns. Although they are collaborations they are not actually about collaboration. They are about perception, colour and light. (We think of them as landscapes without the landscape.) A division of labour is always maintained. Biggs conceives and places the colour. Collings applies it to the canvas. Each work starts from a very simple virtually meaningless grid. The painting is built up by additions and revisions over a long period and done entirely intuitively. There is no preplanning, no charts or maquettes. We work with a certain set of skills we each have, which we combine. We’re aware that paintings of great intricacy whether they’re by us or anyone else can’t be done just by chance. You don’t just luck into a structure. There’s always experience and knowledge. We question whether skill is really the right word for the operations of this knowledge. In explaining our works we’d like to talk about this dichotomy: skill/not skill.’ – Emma Biggs and Matthew Collings