Leah Clements

What’s your background?


There’s a video of me at 10 years old where my Mum asks me “What are your favourite subjects at school?” (note the plural ‘subjects’) and I respond without smiling or blinking and looking very serious: “Art.”

I grew up in East London. I haven’t gone very far, but I did cross the river.

What influences you artistically?

Mostly the people around me, especially when they talk about experiences of emotional, psychological and physical things that are difficult to explain or articulate. The community of crip artists that I’ve found over the past couple of years have been a big influence too, people like Romily Alice Walden, Lizzy Rose, Carolyn Lazard, Johanna Hedva and loads more have been really important to me developing a crip discourse for my practice, and to better advocate for my access needs when working as an artist, and those of others.

The people I work with are incredibly important to the development of a piece or project – whether that’s the DoP of a film, or someone I interview for research, my work often involves a fair amount of collaboration with other people who massively impact on the work.

The people in my life who have/continue to support me and my practice in general have also of course influenced it. My partner George Woolfe listens and talks through all my work with me while I’m making it, which definitely helps the work be the best it can and do what I want it to do.

How do you start a new work?

I usually have loads of stuff that I want to make work about at any one time, and just waiting until I have a chance to start making it. Often the first place I start is researching the subject I’m interested in, and then I seek people out to talk to about it. This is usually people who have a particular psychological, emotional &/or physical experience that’s hard to describe, or just isn’t often talked about, and then I’ll often interview them and make an audio recording. Beyond that though it varies quite a lot what I do next. I might edit those recording into a film work, or develop them into a performance, or make something else that’s sparked by them.

What are you working on right now?

I’m making a film work called ‘To Not Follow Under’, for which I spoke to a sleep neurologist, a psychotherapist, and a rescue diver about the limits of care and empathy, and where the cut-off point is. I’m filming in a sleep clinic, a swimming pool and a hyperbaric chamber. It’s been commissioned by Science Gallery London and will be in the show ‘ON EDGE: Living in an Age of Anxiety’, opening in September.