Kana London’s works span sculpture, painting, prints and functional ceramics. With a sophisticated approach to colour and a tendency for organic forms, Kana’s hand formed pieces conjur feelings of togetherness and precious shared moments.
DO YOU EVER LISTEN TO MUSIC WHEN YOU ARE WORKING IN THE STUDIO?
I like to work alone at night. I would love to be able to not have a mobile phone at all — or maybe just an old analogue Nokia. With music I love music, and I'm very specific about what I like, but I would probably want to listen to an artist or album on repeat for a day or week or month — as it would be a certain tone that I want to be in. So I have a strong relationship with music but there is an importance to silence for me. The purity of silence is the best, but it doesn’t quite work with the rest of your life, so I treat myself to late nights at the studio. I love the emptiness of the energy and silence of the night, you can feel how the rest of the world has turned down and there is no noise. It's a purist energy.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPLORATION OF THE FEMALE FORM?
Historically there has been an ongoing discourse about the female form, but most of the time the artists were men, who had female models — which in my opinion was an abuse of a subject, because in that context, a woman was existing in a male dominated society. She could only be the mother, and could never be the Picasso or the Mondrian...or like the relationship between Camille Claudel and Rodin, we all know how problematic the conversation is about their work because of the blurred lines about who owns what. That's why I find the subject of the female form so complex, as there are so many things to pull into that conversation, and either it becomes a very political conversation for me, or there is the other side, where I am a woman with a female body, and I am working out of my own experience with my body.
When you work as a sculptor and a ceramist you are moving with your body all of the time, and I always felt as a sculptor, the connection of the dynamic act, is closer to being a dancer. So I never try to remove the evidence of movement from the ceramic or painting — these are traces of kinetic energy, the dialogue between your body and your plate.
WHICH ARTISTS IN PARTICULAR HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR PRACTICE?
At different times in my life different artists have been relevant. When I was still studying fine art, I would admire how someone might have mastered materials; Louise Bourgeois and how hard it must have been when she was working, and Alicja Kwade — she is so badass, this Polish-German girl who had a solo show at the Venice Biennale. She's a petite woman making massive stuff, not afraid of the scale or material. Further into my career I try to protect my subconscious mind, and avoid studying people in the same field as me. Contemporary dance feeds my creativity, and going to live gigs. So I consciously break away from it.
WHEN WE CAN GO ON HOLIDAY WHERE WILL YOU TRAVEL?
There are three answers to this question. The first is real life — I need to see my mum and my sister and I will go wherever to do that. We hope to meet on the Croatian islands — it’s where we went every summer when I was a child, and it's a place that feels like sheer joy and a proper reset. The second would be a Sicilian or Greek island, alone, with just tomatoes and watermelons. Thirdly, I really crave going back to Mexico — my heart and soul lives in Mediterranean islands, but I miss the unpredictability of Mexico.
Ana's Store Selections
A selection of Kana London pieces that include ceramic sculptures, paintings and photographs are currently on show at Aimé Ledbury Road — curated throughout the store by Ana herself. Each work is available to purchase, as well as enjoy as you browse — come and say hello, we'd love to see you and show you round.