Residency artists and researchers

Multidisciplinary art

Pennie Key

multidisciplinary artist

Kuva: Jussi Virkkumaa

During her time in the Saari Residence, London based multidisciplinary artist Pennie Key researches female artists who made sex-positive or pornographic work, focusing on questions such as: When does sex-positivity become pornography? What is the line between celebrating sexuality and sensationalism? And in which way have attitudes changed, from the 1970’s to nowadays, where shock value has lost its currency, and we are overexposed to explicit images of women?

“I’m interested in sex and porn, as they have always been controversial points in conversations about feminism and female art. Both sex positive artists and sex workers are still often seen as ‘bad feminists’, and as someone who identifies as both, I’m interested in the ongoing discourse between feminisms, art and popular culture,” Pennie describes.

She uses many different media (photography, performance, writing) in her work and therefore her working methods vary as well. “Most of the times, I have a combination of visual research (mainly photographs that are taken by me but also found online) and a huge number of notes and scribbles. I also do some parallel reading and watching, but it’s never premeditated, or strictly limited to my subject. Then by playing around at the studio and trying out different things, I will zero in on an idea and work towards it more intensively. How that idea makes itself known is a process that usually involves a lot of stress, believing that I’ve lost all my abilities and should quit being an artist, before things somehow resolve themselves,” Pennie explains.

Pennie Key A.K.A Penelope Koliopoulou (b.1987, Athens) is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in London. Her work is often informed by her every day: her identity as a queer woman, a practicing Mixed Martial artist, and various forms of sex work, including female domination and fetish wrestling. She uses personal experience to look into the politics of desire, intimacy and how societal norms and power structures can be subverted within certain groups or situations. Pennie competed an MFA in Fine Art with Distinction at Goldsmiths University of London (2016) and is a Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten fellow for 2020. One of her recent projects is a collaboration with director Lola Clavo, in a documentary that records her daily life, it premiered in November Film Festival. Pennie is part of SHAM collective, who have exhibited in various locations in London.