Jamie Crewe: Ashley

3 Dec 2020–30 Jan 2021


Dragging a wheelie case behind them, Ashley arrives at an isolated beachside cottage. They hope that this weekend in the countryside might be the change they need: a change from depression, from heartbreak, from the pain of a shifting identity. As the weekend unfolds, however, their hope wavers: things go wrong in their body, or perhaps in their mind — or perhaps there really is something, outside, developing an appetite for them... Ashley is a semi-autobiographical rural horror film filmed on the West Coast of Scotland, designed for cinema viewing. Its only character is played onscreen by the artist, and voiced in narration by the poet and performance maker Travis Alabanza. Drawing on the conventions of the rural horror genre (seen in television series such as the BBC’s West Country Tales, 1982–83) and of Margaret Tait’s work in the Scottish landscape tradition, the film takes an experience of modern femininity and mines it for terror. In doing so, it animates the fears, stresses, and vivid transformations of a certain kind of trans life. Alongside the film itself, the exhibition includes Ashley’s oil (2020), a room scent co-composed by Jamie, Charlotte Percival, John Turrell, and Tom Turrell, who shot Ashley together in July 2019. Reflecting the landscape of the film, as well as memories of filming it, the oil brings the redolence of wet, woody things into the gallery, as well as citronella to repel midges. In the library an untitled collage on a dark grey felt board includes an oil pastel drawing by Jamie, as well as the original title cards filmed for Ashley’s opening, intertitles, and credits. To accompany the exhibition Jamie Crewe presents a recorded artist’s talk in which they discuss a technique that recurs throughout their practice. They have named the technique PEOPLE HAVE COME, and it describes courting and avoiding publicness. For certain kinds of people the desire to be seen, recognised, and understood is as powerful as the urge to hide, be illegible, and repel investigation. In reference to Ashley, as well as to other works and experiences, this talk traces eruptions of this ambivalent seam in Jamie’s life and practice. PEOPLE HAVE COME will be available online on the LUX website for the duration of the show.

Back to top