Jackson (b. 1986) studied Fine Art at the Ruskin between 2005 – 2008. She is a conceptual artist with 15 years’ experience, described as such because the ideas she explores are more important than the medium they are expressed in. Jackson explores issues such as climate change, consumerism, mental health, social inequalities and critically, how these themes are inextricably linked. Experience spans art commissions for Kensington + Chelsea Art Week to public speaking on climate change. Her work has been featured in the Times, Art World Magazine, Modern Art Oxford, Time Out and The Tate.
The filth vanishes – and in its place – the art. In the depths of every human psyche lurks a constant fear. These fears manifest themselves in variations of erratic and irrational behaviour. Often to control these fears, control is subsequently lost.
“Over 15 years since Jackson cleaned and labelled her first square on top of a portaloo in Leeds, the work has become bizarrely prophetic as the world stands together – newly alive to the surfaces we touch, the world in which we live, and what constitutes as ‘clean’”.
From 2005 to the present over 1,000 different squares were cleaned all over the world. Daily, dice were rolled to determine time and location. Within these parameters perfect squares, the length of the artist’s feet, were cleaned and labelled with the time and date of the job.
Cleaning Squares comments upon the paradoxical human effort to implement rituals, routines and rules, the way these systems consume and engulf us, whilst their absence leads to anxiety. Disaster can and will often strike. The project explores mental health. In trying to maintain our obsessions, we often find ourselves lost, disappearing into the prison of our own minds. The pieces themselves are invisible, created by simply taking something away. Through our very humanity we have forgotten our relationship with nature, Cleaning Squares forces us to pause and reflect. Holding a mirror up to the art world the piece questions the footprint we are having on the planet and ponders how lightly we can tread.
The character who carries out the performances is referred to as It. This is an ongoing body of work from 2005 – present and the character manifests itself differently in each phase of work. In 2005 the character would wear a gas mask and cleaning overalls, in 2020 the character wears all white with a surgical mask. Each square is photographed on completion and the work is usually exhibited with a book showing each square ever created. It can also be described as a Street Art piece that tries, rather than polluting, to remove pollution.