Marianna Simnett



"I'm interested in transgression, going beyond oneself and what it means to escape the confines of social or cultural norms..."

Kunsthalle Zurich presents two immersive installations by London-based artist Marianna Simnett (b. 1986). Blood In My Milk, 2018, and Faint with Light, 2016 are Simnett’s most important achievements in her still young career. Simnett’s work is raw and overwhelming. Viewers have been known to faint when visiting her shows.

Blood In My Milk is a five-channel, 73-minute film installation bringing together a body of work made between 2014 and 2017. Characters ranging from surgeons, scientists, children and insects tell grisly stories about sickness and medical intervention. Blood In My Milk is a fairy tale, musical, documentary and nightmare in one. It puts you under a hypnotic spell, yet keeps you at a wicked distance.

Faint with Light is an audio and light installation which records the artist deliberately inducing her own unconsciousness through hyperventilation. Simnett’s breath is visualised by a monumental 12 metre wall of blinding LED lights which rise and fall in tandem with the sound of her collapse and revival. The work was inspired by her late Jewish-Croatian grandfather, who survived a mass execution during the Holocaust when he fainted in a firing line.

In her films, installations, drawings and sculptures, Marianna Simnett challenges how the body is perceived and imagined in order to break normative patterns of behaviour.

Marianna Simnett completed her MA at the Slade School of Art in 2013. She won the Jerwood / FVU Award in 2014 and was shortlisted for the Jarman Award in 2017. Her work has shown in many museums internationally, including Copenhagen Contemporary, 2019, FACT Liverpool, 2019, the Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, 2019, the New Museum, New York, 2018 and MMK, Frankfurt am Main, 2018.

Film screening and talk with the artist:
In addition to Blood In My Milk and Faint with Light, Simnett’s latest film The Bird Game, 2019, will be screened on 23rd January 2020 at 6.30pm. The Bird Game is a wicked fairy tale in which a loquacious and bloodthirsty crow lures six children to a secluded mansion. Followed by a conversation with the artist.

"... For me this comes from a place of resentment or anger, a deep frustration with the status-quo. I'm always wanting to fight my way out. I don't believe that there are hermetically sealed worlds, such divisive binaries. There is always the possibility of collapse or empathy, of going beyond oneself into another realm. I want to give my subjects a new autonomy, so they are able to occupy multiple genders and sites at the same time. Letting go of the importance of a capital 'I' allows me to take more risks, to make decisions that confront danger and sometimes involve self-inflicted pain and discomfort." From a conversation between Marianna Simnett and Susanne Pfeffer, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, ZOLLAMT, Frankfurt

Press information

For image enquiries, further information on the exhibition programme and interviews please contact Aoife Rosenmeyer: presse [​at​] or +41 (0)44 272 15 15