Selected works by James Clarkson

James Clarkson
Relief Construction


Citroen Picasso car windows, windscreen wiper blades, exhaust parts and an exploded metal replica of Picasso`s signature

90 x 220 cm
James Clarkson
A Curve on the Right


Interior door trim, windscreen wiper blade, paint, bungee cord, hook, metal

167 x 80 x 12 cm
James Clarkson
A Spot on the Left


Bonnet stays interior window trim, oil filter, rubber bung, paint, wood

175 x 125 cm
James Clarkson
One Black Curve...Then Another


Interior door trim, heat shrink, windscreen wiper blade, paint, bungee cord, metal, hand stained wood panelling, washers

240 x 265 x 12 cm
James Clarkson
A Painted Sun As A Yellow Spot (Installation)


Dimensions variable


July 2012, By Susanna Davies-Crook, Dazed Digital

Sheffield-based artist James Clarkson's work comes from an interest in art history and 'how it is replicated or built upon in the manufacture of more domestic items like furniture or cars'. Having graduated from Sheffield Hallam in 2010, he is a studio holder at S1 studios and has collaborated with Venice Biennale Silver Lion winning artist, Haroon Mirza.

In his recent solo exhibition 'A Painted Sun as a Yellow Spot' at the Rod Barton gallery, he selected parts of a Citroën Picasso car, arranging them on the wall in a gesture that investigates a formal language, reflecting on past acts of mark making and fixing them firmly in a material present. The exhibition draws on Henri-Georges Clouzot's 1954 film Le Mystère Picasso and includes the work Relief Construction, made from three of the car windows, windscreen wiper blades, exhaust parts and an exploded metal replica of Picasso's signature, itself referencing the fluid hand of the seminal artist. This 'playful re-contextualisation' becomes 'a means of identifying a certain poetry in the slippages of time'.

Dazed Digital: How did you get started making art?

James Clarkson: When I grew up my dad was an antiques dealer, we used to travel round the country most weekends visiting auction houses and antiques fairs. In doing so I think this gave me a really strong concept of objects that had a higher value than the majority of things that I was surrounded by the rest of the time and the notion that something could have more meaning than just its regular function.

What's the point of it all? 

For me it’s the process of understanding the material we surround ourselves with, and its position in a historical context.


May 22nd 2012, Art Daily

LONDON- Exploring the relationships between art and the history of design, James Clarkson’s practise investigates how a formal language can be devised from combining found objects, paintings and sculpture. The materials Clarkson uses in his works are typically selected for the references they make specific moments in art history. In addressing the tensions between functionality, purpose and experience, his work also asks wider questions regarding the meanings embedded in the objects that we surround ourselves with. For his solo exhibition at Rod Barton Gallery, 'A Painted Sun as a Yellow Spot,' Sheffield based artist James Clarkson has created an installation of new works that extend his exploration into art history and it's place in the materials of our present.

'A Painted Sun as a Yellow Spot' brings together a composition of sculptural and wall based works made almost entirely from parts of a Citroën Picasso. Using these materials James Clarkson has created a playful response to Henri-Georges Clouzot's 1954 film Le Mystère Picasso which depicts Picasso at work in a fictional studio as he paints on to a specially constructed transparent canvas that allows the viewer to witness, unobstructed, the fluidity of the artist's hand in motion.

Recurring themes from paintings made for the film are apparent in the formal attributes of each of the works exhibited. Relief Construction, 2012 made from three Citroen Picasso car windows, windscreen wiper blades, exhaust parts and an exploded metal replica of Picasso's signature, resonates with Clouzot's concepts of fluidity and transparency, whilst their forms suggest fractured elements of Picasso's paintings. Another piece made from wooden tongue and groove panelling and the interior mouldings of car doors, replicates the staging of Picasso's fictional studio in the film. The positioning of works against and around the cladding forcibly locates the viewer in relation to the works, pointing towards the multiplicity of readings that could arise from different permutations.

For Clarkson, the works in 'A Painted Sun as a Yellow Spot' are a means of identifying the slippages in time and meaning that occur when an object or idea assumes its own formal language aside from its original context. However such transformations are not finite, each work visibly occupies a precarious position, ever liable to shift and change.


The Aesthetic Trust

Taking inspiration from the past and paying your dues to the greats who have gone before you, without turning into parody or sheer plagiarism is a skill that not everyone can master. Whether you are a writer, film maker, designer or artist, taking inspiration or revisiting inspirational works is a tightrope. It’s one which Sheffield based artist, James Clarkson, is currently dancing along.

One of the most industrious and respected young artists can be found in the country, Clarkson is open about the historic root of his practise. Talking in his studio at Sheffield’s S1 Artspace, Clarkson is enthusiastic about tracing the work of contemporary masters in his paintings and sculptures, but id equally keen to play his inspirations down. “They’re just influences, so other things do come into each piece. People can come to the works and are able to bring their own ideas to them. It’s like an expanded art history is contained within each work” he explains.


2012, Rhubaba

Rhubaba are delighted to announce A Chance Encounter Between an Umbrella and a Sewing Machine, the first Scottish exhibition by James Clarkson. The show takes its title from Comte de Lautréamont’s 19th century prose poem, ‘Les Chants de Maldoror’, a seminal work of literature often sighted as an influence on the methodologies of French Symbolist, Dada and Surrealist movements during the 1920’s. Lautréamont was himself influenced by the works of Baudelaire and the two shared an interest in the random possibilities or associations that occur when two unrelated objects or concepts meet in an unfamiliar situation.