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In 2010 London-based artist Jessie Brennan was invited by Art on the Underground to conceive a project for local people that would resonate with Jacqueline Poncelet’s permanent artwork Wrapper for a new TfL building next to Edgware Road (Circle line) Underground station. Everything Meets Here (2012), a large-scale pencil drawing of an imaginary landscape assembled from personal information, was the result. It evolved from Brennan’s extended dialogue with participating groups: St Marylebone Society; users and residents of 60 Penfold Street; photography students from City of Westminster College and London Underground staff.
Jessie Brennan’s practice lies between drawing and participation, informed by the social history of places, and by a direct engagement with the individuals who occupy them. Central to her work is the exchange of local knowledge and personal experiences, memories, folklore and myths, between herself and the people within a particular place, situation or context. She is fascinated by using drawing as a tool to conceptualise and imagine these experiences.
Brennan’s starting point for this project was purposely fluid and open-ended. Her aim was to create opportunities for the groups to reflect upon the creative processes employed by Poncelet in her own research and development period, and on aspects of her work – pattern, colour, social history – that stimulated their imaginations. They approached this through the activities of drawing and assembling found and personal objects.
The construction phase of Wrapper on site next to Edgware Road station offered a backdrop to Brennan’s one-to-one conversations with LU staff. The staff, many of whom have over 15 years experience of working on the Tube, also spoke about their experiences at the station, from acts of kindness at work, friendships and trust between colleagues, the importance of feeling that they can make a difference – however small – to someone’s day, to their dreams and aspirations outside of work.
The information gathered from these interactions, and the process of exchange itself, is playfully articulated in Brennan’s meticulously detailed pencil drawing, handled with her characteristic delicate sensitivity. The changing scales interwoven into the fabric of the drawings create a fictionalised space in which incongruous perceptions of time and place coexist. The work resonates with the personal memories, anecdotes and stories that inspired it.