Helen Dowling

participating artist

Contributed work:

Inspired by the tropical greenhouses of Beetsterzwaag, Helen Dowling presents the project The Queen of Lemons: a video-installation that focuses on the transformative potential of concepts and language. Within Dowling’s long term research, poststructuralist and feminist thinkers such as Hélène Cixous and Luce Irigaray form an important basis, especially their ideas about the relationship between sexuality and communication. Dowling further expanded and actualised this basis with the work of psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett. She states that people are not subjected to emotions, but that these are taught through concepts, developed and passed on by the community, society and further defined by race and family. These developments emphasise that emotions are not a universal phenomenon.


Born in the UK Lives/works in The Netherlands.

The research of Helen Dowling investigates the impact and consequences of realising our own consciousness, the transient nature of its existence and how this relates to a sense of time, emotion and the expectation integral to building image and identity. She associates the urge to make film and video, recording ourselves, others and our environment with both a simultaneous effort to make sense of this realisation and a continuation and even extension of the enigma. Working primarily in video, she works with what it means to possess these materials after they have been filmed, how they effect a sense of self and how they can be used to break apart, re-enforce and restructure how we self identify.

Dowlings’ work has been presented at the Oberhausen Festival DE, Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow UK, EYE Filmmuseum NL, Tale of a Tub NL, University of Toronto Art Centre CA, DOX Centre for Contemporary Art CZ, Blue Coat Gallery UK, The Castelvecchio Museum IT, Villa Romana IT, CareOf IT and the Kunstquartier Bethanien DE.

She has taken part in several international residency programmes and workshops including the Oberhausen Seminar, in conjunction with LUX and The Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, Via Farini, IT, Fondazione Antonio Ratti, IT, and the two year residency program at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, NL, supported by a Henry Moore Institute Research Fellowship and Fellowship Cees en Inge de Bruin-Heijn.