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Julie Verhoeven and Jimmy Merris
Courtesy of Julie Verhoeven

Julie on Jimmy: a match made in the madhouse

Ahead of their joint ICA performance, artist Julie Verhoeven shares her thoughts on the madcap charm of Jimmy Merris

Taken from the Winter 2015 issue of Dazed:

Self-taught artists Julie Verhoeven and Jimmy Merris are south London’s most anarchic new pairing. Their riotous, dogging-themed debut collaboration this autumn brought us gyrating masked figures, finger amputation and explosions of cottage cheese, among other delights. Now Verhoeven has recruited Merris to bring more hysterical strangeness to a one-off performance that will close her ICA show, Whiskers Between My Legs, in January. Here, she shares some of her thoughts on Merris’s madcap art... 


“Jimmy has a boundless, infectious energy, and this is reflected in his work. His lofi aesthetic – if it’s broken, don’t fix it – feels so new and fearless yet deeply empathetic and melancholic. The first time I saw his work and experienced his videos I felt happy, sad and strangely baffled, but warmly trapped. He will never not be a young artist, but defy time passing, without a doubt.”


“We just wanted to be juvenile over sex and the absurdity of to all. It’s a bottomless pit of infinite possibilities to poke fun and be mildly titillating in a rather messy manner. Dogging as a word/idea/visual/sound/smell just hits the spot every time and says everything we wanted to say in one hit.”


“There was one memorable, idiot moment we never fessed up to the Hordaland Art Centre about, when we sent plinth measurements somewhat tipsy. We arrived to find 20 plinths about three times the size we wanted (I had got my centimetres and inches mixed up). The show was better for it though and we impressed each other with our amateur dramatics skills – no face flinching at the shock of it on arrival.”


“There was another rather difficult moment when my neighbour popped his head around the door when he heard the sounds of Robert Palmer's “I Didn't Mean To Turn You On” and was confronted with the following mucky vision of me writhing on the floor in tarpaulin, crab sticks, ice and vaseline, and Jimmy up a ladder lathered up in brylcreem, talcum powder and covered in fishing net. The neighbour has since struggled to look me in the eye.”


“During our Tops Off party at the studio, Paul Pieroni decided to ambush our ‘art’. He stripped on the spot and wriggled into our “Oeuvre” underpants and gave them their first public outing on the Walworth Road. He scaled the wall onto the street Spiderman style and struck a series of slutty pin-up poses like a true pro. It was memorably cheap and hot.”


“Jimmy knows how to turn a pair of Primark pants into a Gucci-esque thong in the blink of an eye, when he’s having a style magazine moment. Always a good look during times of stress.” 


“I’m no fortune teller or white witch, but I believe something green and pleasant is awaiting Jimmy. He will never not be a young artist, but will continue to defy time passing. His lack of style is his strength. But I would rather not think Jimmy is having a moment, because the nature of moments suggest they are about to end.” 

Julie Verhoeven and Jimmy Merris are performing together live in Julie og Jimmy down ICA on the January 16. You can book tickets here