Jennet Thomas

Born - Herfordshire. UK

Jennet Thomas is an artist who makes films, performances and installations. Her work began as spoken word and projections for a live audience, it now combines a variety of filmic languages, ranging from soap opera to experimental and underground filmmaking, from sci-fi to musicals. Her work tackles very human content and is often bleakly comic.

Jennet Thomas's work emerged from the anarchistic, experimental culture of London's underground film and live art club scene in the 1990s, where she was a co-founder of the Exploding Cinema Collective. Her numerous film works have screened extensively in the international film festival arena (Rotterdam, Oberhausen, New York Underground Film Festival) with retrospectives at the Pleasure Dome (Toronto), Anthology Film Archives (New York), and Rencontres Video Art Plastique (France).

More recently her work has been showing in a gallery context; solo shows include: All Suffering SOON TO END at Matt’s Gallery, London 2010, Return of the Black Tower at PEER in London 2007, and The Advice Shape at OUTPOST, Norwich, UK, November 2010.

"I like to explore unexpected processes of sense-making. My narratives are often fractured, absurdist — generated via dream-logic. My videos often contain passages that look like low budget TV drama, news, or childrens' programmes, as well as activity recognizable as Performance Art, with abstracted — and often disturbing — animations and props. I am interested in deconstructing and reconstructing the familiar into new, dissonant, psychologically and poetically resonant forms.”

— Jennet Thomas

"Jennet Thomas is a zealous god-devil, who constructs bizarre narrative worlds in which we can recognize the pull of gravity, the attraction of belief or the logic of causality, but these forces are somehow reconfigured to describe a place that is way off the map of normality, perhaps with one foot in the realm of the paranormal. And yet Thomas suggests the near-feasibility of the absurd by expressing messages from alternative dimensions, bizarre social codes and accounts of recent cultural history through everyday means. Sausages, sporting trophies, lengths of string and packages sent through the post are the tools with which normal looking people conduct their peculiar activities in community halls, supermarket car parks, back gardens and nicely kept living rooms. The bizarre, Thomas seems to suggest, is a close relative of the ordinary."

— Sally O' Reilly, catalogue essay for installation show Return of the Black Tower, 2007

“Over the past two decades, London-based artist Jennet Thomas has evolved a distinctive video practice embracing a homespun folk aesthetic to produce absurdist narratives that stubbornly refuse reason. Complexly strange, Thomas’s work is committed to developing new and experimental forms of storytelling, all to make sense of what seems like an increasingly non-sensical world.”

— Jon Davies, Kitchen Sink Surrealism essay for retrospective at the Pleasure Dome 2010

"Barmy, baffling and weirdly funny."

— JJ Charlesworth, Time Out, London, 2007

"Not only is the world stranger than we think, but her films are final proof that the world may even be stranger than we CAN think."

— Director of the Nomad Videofilm Festival, 2000

"A wild and bewildering affront to common civilized Cinema."

— Time Out, London, 2000

Jennet Thomas is a Senior Lecturer in BA Fine Art: Print and Time Based Media at the University of the Arts London, Wimbledon College.  She also regularly does visiting lectures to the US and Canada, as well as the around the UK.

Artist Collection List

Title Year Runtime Collection
"What are you doing with your fingers?" 1996 6 minutes Single Titles
4 Ways He Tried to Tell You 1999 7 minutes Single Titles
A Man's Woman 1988 52 minutes 53 seconds Single Titles
Because of the War 2005 13 minutes 40 seconds Single Titles
Double Dummy 2004 6 minutes 40 seconds Single Titles
Gorgeous Operation 1996 8 minutes Single Titles
Heady 1994 8 minutes Single Titles
Important Toy 1997 8 minutes 20 seconds Single Titles
Jennet Thomas: 6 pieces from my head 2002 43 minutes 20 seconds Single Artist Compilations
Only Just Begun 2006 5 minutes Single Titles
Perfect Spot 2002 14 minutes 45 seconds Single Titles
Return of the Black Tower 2007 15 minutes 50 seconds Single Titles
SHARONY! 2000 10 minutes 30 seconds Single Titles
The Advice Shape 2013 6 minutes 11 seconds Single Titles
The Local Sky Enlarger 2002 28 minutes 30 seconds Single Titles
The Man Who Went Outside 2008 10 minutes Single Titles
The Spectacular Murder of Mervyn 1999 6 minutes Single Titles
The Truth and the Pleasure 2006 4 minutes 40 seconds Single Titles
THE UNSPEAKABLE FREEDOM DEVICE 2015 37 minutes Single Titles