Georgina Starr

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Georgina Starr (born 1968) is an English artist and one of the Young British Artists notable for her "pop style installations and films."[1] Her major works have been described as "large-scale installations combining video and sculpture" to create emotional stories about seemingly meaningless events.[2]

Life and work

Starr was born in Leeds[3] and lives and works in London. She studied at Middlesex Polytechnic,[2] attended the Slade School of Art from 1990 until 1992[3][2] and the Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunst in Amsterdam from 1993 to 1994.[3] She works with found and collected objects to construct autobiographical installations. She has exhibited widely in group and solo exhibitions, including the Tate Gallery in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Venice Biennale, and in galleries in cities throughout the world including Basel, Tokyo, Ghent, Brisbane, and Barcelona.[3]

She has been identified as a member of the "second wave" of Young British Artists.[4] Her work has been described as "quirky, personal, heartfelt, confessional, paranoid" by Momus.[5] Momus explained that Starr saw her paranoia as a "magical state of mind" and a means to enter "the realm of the imaginary."[5] According to Momus, Starr explained that she taped the soundtracks from rented horror films, even though she doesn't usually watch horror films, and then walked around London with the soundtrack playing on a Walkman so that "the creepy music and sudden violent sound effects somehow lifting everything onto another level of reality."[5]

Starr's Static Steps in 1992 featured a small paper figure reacting physically to "random static electricity" and added a voice-over recording as if the movements were rehearsed dance steps.[2] The idea was to re-describe banal and "often random aspects of modern life" so they seem important.[2]

In 1993 Starr's video Crying was described as "euphoric" and made a viewer want to "climb through the screen and give her a cuddle."[6] In 1995, Starr's Small Planet featured videos, photographs, objects and drawings based loosely on a Jerry Lewis film called Visit to a Small Planet which evoked many emotional states.[2] In 1996, Starr made Hypnodreamdruff which began as a film script, but turned into a "multi-screen, multi-media installation incorporating a nightclub,[7] bedroom, kitchen and caravan," according to a description on her website. It was exhibited in Amsterdam in 1995, London and New York in 1996, and Wolfsburg, Germany in 1997.[8] Hypnodreamdruff was a complex narrative of the "interior life" of one of three fictional people sharing an apartment and was described as a "rowdy yet poignant portrait of the alienation and fantasy of everyday life."[2] A video she made of herself was described in one report as "grizzling".[9] Critic Dan Glaister of The Guardian reported that Catherine Lampert of the Whitechapel Gallery was surprised that no women were nominated for the 1996 Turner prize; Lampert said "Tracey Emin and Georgina Starr have both produced notable work this year (1996)."[10]

In 1998, critic Tim Hilton of The Independent described Starr's Tuberama as an "expensively constructed" model tube train which went around the gallery while a cartoon film by Starr played simultaneously with "unpleasant music."[11] Critic Momus described Tuberama as "the musical of the short story of the cartoon strip of the painting, is about sitting on the tube and feeling a bit paranoid about the people opposite you: are they pervs, are they farting, and who would be their leader if the train broke down for a week?"[5]

Starr's project I am a record, according to a website description, dissected and revealed "the artist's personal, geographic and imagined environment" and featured a wide variety of recordings made since age five including the rumbling of a broken radiator which she thought was "speaking to her," "re-enactments of secretly recorded stranger's conversation," field recordings, singing voices, paranormal telephony, family dinner conversations, "air eddies transformed into music," and other unusual sounds.[12] It's an audio collection featuring painted cover artwork with posters, inserts and booklets.[12]

In 2007, art critic John Zinsser described his reaction to Starr's show Theda in New York: "It was a show that revealed itself to me very slowly" which was "full of surprises" and that the personality of the show was "very strong" and "beguiling in its nuttiness."[13] Zinsser described Starr as a "video artist" which featured a clumsily-written book about a "movie that you didn't see" which was "written in a faux academic style".[13] Critic Gregory Volk compared Starr to writers like Emerson in making a "meter making argument" and that her show was "so out there" and "crazily eccentric" and "crazily adventurous" and, as a result, "utterly convincing."[13] In 2008, Guardian critic Adrian Searle witnessed Starr's performance in which she smashed statues. During a performance at the opening of her show, Starr tipped a statue of a partly clothed woman from its plinth, so that it broke in pieces on the floor.[14][15] The noise of their destruction was "satisfying and loud" although hard to see; temporarily, everyone present stopped drinking while this happened.[14] What was left? "A pile of neatly swept fragments and dust," according to the critic.[14]

Starr was a judge for the Northern Art Prize in 2008.[16] The Guardian reported in November 2008 that Starr was dating artist Paul Noble who paints "debauched imaginary townscapes."[17] Starr and Noble traveled to Palestine and both worked at the Institute for Art Palestine.[17] Artist Andrew Palmer credits Starr for influencing his thinking about art.[18] In November 2008, Starr put her video and installation pieces from her project Bunny Lake and reproduced them on a Vespa scooter in a project to raise funds for charity.[19] Her sponsors include Natwest bank.[20]


  • 1992, British Institute Award for Sculpture[3]
  • 1992, Duveen Travel Award[3]
  • 1993, Women Art Award, Austria[3]
  • 1993, VSB Bank Award[3]
  • 1993, Uriot Prize[3]
  • 1997, Turner Prize nominee[21]


  • "Georgina Starr", Ikon Gallery 1998.
  • "The Bunny Lakes", Emily Tsingou Gallery 2002.
  • "THEDA", 2007


  1. Jessica Lack. Artist of the week 15: Paul Noble, 'The Guardian', 12 November 2008. Retrieved on 2010-01-06.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Grove Art Online. Georgina Starr: Biography, 'Tate Online', 2010-01-07. Retrieved on 2010-01-07.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Biography & Links–Georgina Starr Biography. artnet (2010-01-06). Retrieved on 2010-01-06.
  4. (audio recording). artcritical (2010-01-06). Retrieved on 2010-01-06.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Momus. Commentary -- The Death of Art, 'Momus website', 2010-01-06. Retrieved on 2010-01-06.
  6. Jonathan Jones. Your final 50, 'The Guardian', 5 December 2006. Retrieved on 2010-01-06.
  7. Andrew Palmer. Artist Andrew Palmer on how he paints, 'The Observer', 20 September 2009. Retrieved on 2010-01-06.
  8. HYPNODREAMDRUFF. Georgina Starr website (1996). Retrieved on 2010-01-06.
  9. Jonathan Jones. We're all doomed!, 'The Guardian', 28 July 2001. Retrieved on 2010-01-06.
  10. Dan Glaister. Turner shortlist fails to shock, 'The Guardian', 20 June 1996. Retrieved on 2010-01-06.
  11. Tim Hilton. Exhibitions: It's a real post-modernist Ikon, 'The Independent', 29 March 1998. Retrieved on 2010-01-06.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Georgina Starr. I am a record, 'Georgina Starr website', 2009. Retrieved on 2010-01-06.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Nancy Princenthal, Gregory Volk and John Zinsser join David Cohen (October 12, 2007). (Audio recording) (Review of:) Rudolf Stingel at the Whitney, Raymond Pettibone at David Zwirner, Julie Heffernan at PPOW, Georgina Starr at Tracy Williams and Ingrid Calame at James Cohan. Retrieved on 2010-01-06.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Adrian Searle. Mirror, mirror, off the wall: Kung-fu mopping, barking actors and a mechanical dancer in the dark - a revolution is taking place at the stuffy old Royal Academy. Adrian Searle joins in the fun, 'The Guardian', 5 November 2008. Retrieved on 2010-01-06.
  15. Salon nights, 'The Guardian', 2008. Retrieved on 2010-01-06.
  16. Martin Wainwright. Northern Art prize shortlist announced, 'The Guardian', 11 September 2008. Retrieved on 2010-01-06.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Jessica Lack. Artist of the week 15: Paul Noble, 'The Guardian', 12 November 2008. Retrieved on 2010-01-06.
  18. Andrew Palmer. Artist Andrew Palmer on how he paints, 'The Observer', 20 September 2009. Retrieved on 2010-01-06.
  19. Will Bennett, Art Sales Correspondent. Five Vespa artists are given a ticket to ride, 'The Daily Telegraph', 29 Nov 2004. Retrieved on 2010-01-06.
  20. Lucinda Bredin. A very peculiar statement: Why are banks selling off their Old Masters and investing in wildly avant-garde art? Lucinda Bredin investigates and talks to the NatWest's art curator, 'The Daily Telegraph', 10 Jun 1999. Retrieved on 2010-01-06.
  21. Dan Glaister. A woman's place - in the gallery, 'The Guardian', 18 June 1997. Retrieved on 2010-01-06.