Polly Gould

am an artist and writer working with installation, performance, sound, video and drawing. I also explore the interplay of image and word in the form of the site-specific lecture or performance-talk. My work engages with questions of voice, power and desire. When devising lectures, my strategy involves the grafting of personal narratives onto wider theoretical and historical discourses. I mix theoretical explication with poetic and metaphoric evocation in language and images, combining slide projection, video and sound with the spoken word.

Recent talks include, Art and Mourning in an Antarctic Landscape presented at DDD8 (Death, Dying and Disposal 2008) at Bath University, UK, 12th-15th September 2007 and a performance-talk Libraries and Landscape as part of the London University Centre for Germanic & Romance Studies Freud in Translation: Freud in Transition, conference September 2006, Unpacking My Father’s Library in the Telling Stories: Objects and Narratives symposium at Loughborough University, UK, 21st September 2007, and To the End’s of the Earth in Death and Beyond at ASCA (Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis) NL, 1st-2nd November 2007. I recently presented an audio work as part of ARTRADIO at Cornerhouse Gallery, Manchester. My short story was included in a collection of fiction by leading contemporary British artists published by Serpent’s Tail in 2006 titled The Alpine Fantasy of Victor B. and Other Stories. My drawing has been selected for the 2007 Jerwood Drawing Prize. From 1st March to 20th June 2008 I have a show titled Peninsular at the ICIA, Bath.

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Much of my current work explores narrative and mourning or death, set against a Romantic landscape. An example of my performance practice is the piece Libraries and Landscape or What is it that I have Lost? I will be performing a new version of this piece at ICIA, Bath on 19th April 2008.This story is structured around the im/possibility of finding a lost loved person through the reading of their inherited library. It draws upon the Benjaminian project of mapping history onto geography and explores memory in terms of spatial forms, most explicitly in terms of walking though a familiar landscape of the fens. The story is told against the back-drop of a notice board, in the style of the old-fashioned letter rack that was such a popular subject for trompe l’oeil painting in 17th century Netherlands, in Gijsbrechts works in particular. The performance is presented as a monologue, but at points the story is taken up by the recorded voices of absent characters. At other times a still image of open fens is seen against the sound of a train moving through the landscape. It is an attempt at doing what Benjamin describes as ‘reading oneself backwards’ and an engagement with Baudrillard’s theories on the image. As in trompe l’oeil, time and memory play tricks: what seems present is absent, what seems close is distant, sound becomes image and vice versa.

One landscape of particular interest to me is the Antarctic. My paper for inclusion in the Arctic Discourses conference in Tromsø, Norway is an interrogation of the choice of Polar landscapes for the playing out of narratives of gender difference. This is specifically with regards to the question of ‘where do I come from?’ and sexual and social reproduction in the stories of Arctic and Antarctic exploration. My references are to Irigaray, Arendt, Mary Shelley and include a closer reading of the 1970s short story sci-fi fiction of Ursula Le Guin titled Sur which describes an all-female expedition to Antarctica that leaves no trace.

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This is also the landscape referenced in my show Peninsular at the ICIA, and is the concern of my paper Art and Mourning in an Antarctic Landscape, delivered at the Death, Dying and Disposal 8 conference in Bath September 2007, and forming the subject matter of Peninsular. The paper questioned how the past engenders the future in our personal lives and in art? Approaching this question as an artist, I explored art and mourning, and the task of successfully inheriting the past, set against an Antarctic landscape. The bones of this story lie in my mourning for my father. As he lay dying, in that time of waiting with nothing to be done, I made a few drawings of him against the white expanse of the bed sheets. After his death, after his body was gone, I wonder what is to be done with his corpus, his life’s work. This personal drama of inheritance is played out against the question of how to inherit art’s history, and how to make art anew. How does one go on making art in the post modern and how does one live on post mortem? Approaching the third anniversary of his death, I was still perplexed by this hiatus, this halt in temporal progression that mourning had produced in me. I resolved to break open time with a journey through space, to one of the most remote and least human places in this world, to the Antarctic Peninsula. So, I took the drawings of him with me, and set them out, there, amongst the penguins and ice and the white expanse of glaciers. Why? Peninsular is an exhibition derived from the video, photographs and drawings made during my time there.

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Death and the beauty of nature, are also the subject of my video work Obituary. I have recently been working with musicians; a didgeridoo player and bagpipe player, to devise a soundtrack to this piece. The core of this story lies in a newspaper article about an Australian woman who died alone in the Highlands of Scotland eight years ago. She was a convert to a cult called ‘Breatharianism’ in which followers believe they can bypass death by surviving on air alone. The ‘real’ story in the newspaper became the starting point for a fictional story that I titled Breakfast at the Beauty Spot. Two lovers get involved in an argument about the stranger’s death. The layering of narratives upon a landscape in the appropriation of other people’s narratives for oneself, or other people’s homes mistaken for empty wilderness, are played out in this work. This matter was the subject of the paper To the Ends’ of the Earth that I presented at Death and Beyond conference at ASCA, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 1-2nd November 2007.The paper attempts to identify the aesthetic paradigms that might have lead this woman to choosing a place of outstanding natural beauty in which to enact her conversion, and to what extent these values of beauty may have ultimately also had a part to play in her death.

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I also have a collaborative practice with Anne Eggebert under the name of Eggebert-and-Gould. We work site-specifically as artists, on public art commissions, and on curatorial projects. We have been selected and commissioned to create a large scale public art work for Milton Keynes. We conceived and curated the national touring exhibition with Arts Council funding called Nature and Nation: Vaster than Empires. We are currently undertaking research and development into a curatorial project titled Landscape and Anxiety, with view to producing a touring exhibition on the theme of anxious and anxiety inducing landscape. We will engage with environmental discourses and psychoanalysis, as they intersect in the field of representation and contemporary art. We are seeking contributors, both artists and essayists.

I am a lecturer on the BA Fine Art course at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, and also on the Print and Digital Media course MA and BA at Wimbledon College of Art. I have a BA Hons, Fine Art from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, and an MA Fine Art, and MA Theory from Jan van Eyck Academie Centre for Postgraduate Research, The Netherlands. I have recently shown drawing installation and performance pieces at Danielle Arnaud Gallery, London.

Polly Gould

February 2007


  • 1997 – 98
    • MA Theory Jan van Eyck Academie Centre for Postgraduate Research
  • 1997
    • Theory Prize
  • 1996 – 98
    • Diploma in Applied Social Science Open University, UK
  • 1994 – 96
    • MA Fine Art
  • 1993
    • Lawrence Burton Memorial Prize for BA Thesis
  • 1990 – 93
    • BA Hons First Class Fine Art Central St Martins College of Art and Design, London

Current Teaching

  • 2006
    • Associate Lecturer in Print and Digital Media, BA Fine Art course at Wimbledon College of Art
  • 1999
    • Associate Lecturer in Fine Art on the Part-time BA Hons course at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design
  • 2004
    • Associate Lecturer in Historical and Theoretical Studies at Central St Martins College of Art and Design, London.
  • 2002
    • Sep-Dec : Acting Coordinator and Senior lecturer on Part-time BA Fine Art course, Central St Martins College of Art and Design
  • 2001 – 04
    • Lecturer in Historical and Theoretical Studies on BA Hons Fine Art course at Kent Institute of Art and Design, Canterbury
  • 2000
    • Visiting tutor, Tweede Phase, Post-graduate Academy of Art, Willem de Kooning Academie, Rotterdam.
  • 1999
    • Editorial Assistant and Research Support in the Wimbledon School of Art, Research Centre, with Bill Furlong


Writing & Publications

  • 2004
    • Transmission: Speaking and Listening, Eds. Sharon Kivland, Lesley Sanderson and Emma Cocker. Sheffield Hallam University, Transcribed discussion as Eggebert-and-Gould.
  • 2001
    • Essay in ‘Private Possessions & Public Obsessions’, Piet Zwart Institute publication series, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
  • 2000
    • Co-editor of the book The Dynamics of Now: Issues in Art and Education Wimbledon School of Art and Tate Gallery Publications.
    • Catalogue essay on touring group show ‘John, I’m only Dancing’
  • 1998
    • Author of Manifestations; Performing the Word .Published by The Jan van Eyck Academy, Maastricht, The Nertherlands, November 1998
  • 1999 – 2000
    • Reviews for Public Art Journal October 1999 & October 2000 Reviews for Artist’s Newsletter May 1999, January 2000 & April 2000, April 2002.

Reviews and Press Coverage

  • 2003
    • February The Guardian Guide, preview Eggebert and Gould solo show Television and Aeroplane at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery.
    • April The Guardian Guide, preview of curated show Nature and Nation at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery.
  • 2002
    • 25th January The Hastings Observer, Covering student show, which was part of Eggebert & Gould’s activity while artists-in-residence
  • 2001
    • 26th May The Independent on Saturday, In the Botanic Garden article, Eggebert & Gould
    • 12th May, interview about In the Botanic Garden show.
    • 19th February BBC Radio Cambridge, interview with Eggebert & Gould:, on Sonic Botany Children¹s Workshop at Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Other, e.g. consultancy

  • 2000
    • Visiting Artist, Art Department, University of Minnesota.

Selected Exhibitions Commissions & Events

  • 2007
    • Panel discussion member in Agendas at the Venice Biennale, Is Art a Form of Debate? with Richard Grayson, Cesare Pietroiusti, Dan and Lia Perjovschi, and Sharon Kivland. Other participants include Sacha Craddock, Robert Storr, Vittorio Urbani and Gavin Butt. Hosted by Wimbledon College of Art and Tate Britain.
    • Conference paper Art and Mourning in an Antarctic Landscape selected for cross-disciplinary international conference The Social Context of Death, Dying and Disposal 8, hosted by University of Bath.
    • Conference paper Libraries and Landscape or What is it that I have Lost? selected for Telling Stories: Objects and Narratives third in a series of one day symposia at Loughborough University School of Art & Design. Keynote speakers include Stuart Brisley, Martha Buskirk, Jane Rendell and Yve Lomax.
    • Conference paper To the Ends’ of the Earth for Death and Beyond ASCA Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis. Key note speakers Benjamin Noys and Sandra l. Gilman. Selected for Jerwood Drawing Prize.
    • Touring show. Sound work, The Martial Art of What We Say, included in ARTRADIO, radio broadcast programme, Cornerhouse, Manchester.
    • Participation and chairing of discussion panel with Brighid Lowe and Mikey Cuddihy on the Alpine Fantasy of Victor B. and Other Stories and artist’s writing, for WAI Festival, Women’s Art International, Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal. Festival Programme includes Germaine Greer, Marianne Faithful, Stella Vine.
    • Drawing included in Drawing 2007 Biennial Fundraiser, The Drawing Room.
  • 2006
    • Short story included in the collection The Alpine Fantasy of Victor B and Other Stories, fiction writing by contemporary UK artists with Ian Breakwell, Brian Catling, Jake Chapman and others, published by Serpent’s Tail, Eds. Akerman and Daly
    • Libraries and Landscape: or what is it that I have lost? Performance for Freud in Translation: Freud in Transition, conference University of London.
    • The Dead and the Blind video performance for Betsey’s Salon of interdisciplinary arts.
    • Libraries and Landscape: or what is it that I have lost? performance as part of the week festival Write Side of the Brain at Barons Court Theatre, London.
    • Guy’s Ear, video piece on show at The Drawing Room, London as part of Arts Unwrapped.
  • 2005
    • The Martial Art of What We Say Sound/Performance work at Danielle Arnaud Gallery, London.
    • Polly Gould, Lisa Fielding-Smith and Scrivener joint show at Danielle Arnaud Gallery, London. Video, drawing and text works.
    • The Floating Press and the Blake Society – Video and performance work at the Museum of Garden History, London.
    • The Floating Press, performance and print-making work as part of Cloud & Vision; William Blake in Lambeth, curated by Parabola at the Museum of Garden History, London.
  • 2004 – 05
    • Endless Landscape, Artist’s Commission, to produce Education and Interpretation intervention for The Writer in the Garden at the British Library, London.
  • 2004
    • October Untitled, The Zoo Art Fair, with Tannery Arts and the Drawing Room at London Zoo.
    • The Martial Art of What We Say. Sound work for radio exhibition. QSL – MIMA Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art.
    • The Dead and the Blind video-performance.
    • The Well, group show, Danielle Arnaud Gallery, London.
  • 2003
    • Libraries and Landscape or what is it that I have lost? Performance-talk for Site, the October Gallery, London.
  • 2001
    • Westland photo montage drawing for Dans le Jardin des Beaux Arts. Group show. Leiden, Netherlands.
  • 1999
    • The Story of One Woman’s Struggle with her Fear of Architecture Video screening at the CBK, Centre For Visual Arts, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • 1999
    • The Story of One Woman’s Struggle with her Fear of Architecture Video Installation for Stop! Kijk naar Links, kijk naar rechts en steek over, The Netherlands
  • 1998
    • History Painting and Charity, Fidelity and Sexuality Commissioned installed photographs for ‘Disclosures’ in Schloss Rheydt Museum Monchengladbach, Germany
    • Utopian Dreams Performance-talk and sound installation and performance, Natural History Museum, Maastricht, The Netherlands
    • Still Life: Homage to Cotan Video installation for ‘b/t* – between’ The Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, Florida, USA
  • 1997
    • A Table Talk on Mother’s Milk Performance- talk Stichting de Geuzen Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    • The Garden of Lost Unity Television screening of video work on the ‘Kunst Kanaal’, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    • Still Life: Homage to Cotan Video work developed into computer screen saver for ‘Art Savers’ at W139, Amsterdam The Netherlands
  • 1996
    • Still Life: Homage to Cotan Video installation ‘Digital 96’ Photokina, Cologne, Germany

Eggebert-and-Goukd: in Collaboration with Anne Eggebert

  • 2007
    • Selected for major public art commission in Milton Keynes.
  • 2005
    • Short listed for Brunswick Centre re-development Public Art commission.
    • Group exhibition ‘Transmission Print Portfolio’ of prints by artists participating in Sheffield Hallam University’s and Site Gallery’s Transmission series of talks, Haus am Lutzowplatz, Berlin and Redux, London
    • Invited speakers at round table discussion on Curatorial Collaborations with Artquest, at Space Studios, The Triangle, London
  • 2004
    • ‘Aeroplane and Television’ on show in the SEADA Offices, Guildford
    • Talk as part of ‘Transmission: speaking and listening’ lecture series with Site Gallery/Sheffield Hallam University
  • 2003 – 04
    • Curatorial project Nature and Nation Arts Council National Touring Programme exhibition, publication, schools internet project. Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, Worcester City Art Gallery, Yard Gallery Nottingham, and Lethaby Gallery London
  • 2003
    • Photographic collage Alpine Archipelago for ‘No Fixed Position’ Lethaby Gallery, London
    • Solo show entitled Television and Aeroplane at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery
  • 2002
    • Photographic collage Transplantation at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, Australia
    • Experimental Spaces Solo show at Hastings Museum and Gallery
  • 2001
    • Digital Dialogues. Work developed during Year of the Artists Residency Firstsite, Colchester.
    • Solo show In the Botanic Garden concluding Year of the Artist residency at Cambridge University Botanic Garden.
    • Performance talk Treacle for ‘The Language of Things’ Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge.
  • 2000 – 01
    • Site specific performance and installation Mr X at Home for ‘Paradise Revisited’ Bury Museum and Art Gallery, Manchester
  • 1999
    • Commissioned site-specific sound installation for ‘Spin’ Tall Stories in collaboration with Anne Eggebert, The British Library


  • 2008
    • February 21st-23rd Sexual Polarities : conference paper in Arctic Discourses, Tromsø, Norway.
    • March 1st – June 20th Peninsular Solo show at ICIA Bath.
    • April 19th Libraries and Landscape: Or what is it that I have lost? Performance at ICIA, Bath.


Project Production and Curatorial Experience

  • 2003 – 04
    • Nature and Nation: Vaster than Empires Devised and curated in collaboration with Anne Eggebert, Visual Art Exhibition, publication and Internet project with funding from the Arts Council National Touring Programme, Commissions East and the University of the Arts. Opened 12th April 2003 at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, followed by Worcester City Art Gallery, Nottingham Yard Gallery, and Lethaby Gallery London during 2004. See
  • 2002
  • 2001
    • Research and Development of exhibition, publication and schools project, with Anne Eggebert. Curatorial input, What I did on my Holiday, Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, Hastings.

Fellowships, Bursaries and Residencies

  • 2001 – 02
    • Artist in Residence with Anne Eggebert at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery and Hastings College of Art and Technology.
    • Commissions East, Awards for Artists, Research and Development into ‘Nature and Nation’, in collaboration with Anne Eggebert
    • Year of the Artist Residency Award with Anne Eggebert at Cambridge University Botanic Garden
  • 1999
    • Shortlisted for the Kettles Yard & New Hall College Artist’s Fellowship and Residency, Cambridge, UK

Open Studio

  • 2001
    • Open Studio during Science Week with Anne Eggebert at Cambridge University Botanic Garden.
    • Open Studio with Anne Eggebert at Space Studios, London


Polly Gould

You can find out more about Polly Gould’s work by visiting her website at:
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