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Maddie Exton.


I’m an artist, writer and published poet, living and working in East Anglia. I graduated from Norwich University of The Arts in 2020 where I studied Fine Art on a scholarship and left with a first and two awards. I’ve exhibited widely, most notably Mall Galleries (2019), East Gallery (2019) and Norwich and Norfolk Festival (2021) and have been writing dumb, bordeline offensive reviews for years now. I started writing about art because galleries felt both stale and kind of terrifying and, as a working class kid, they felt like spaces I did not belong in. I wanted reviews to be juicy, passionate and unflinching, but what I found was aloof, and wordy; lacking any real opinion. So I started writing what I wanted to read, and that eventually led me to rrramble.

Your ultimate desert island disc track: that one song you would take with you to a desert island, if you could only choose one.

Even though I would do unspeakable things for Taylor Swift, it’s got to be '(Escape) The Pina Colada Song' by Rupert Holmes. For entertainment purposes, I wilfully ignore the fact it’s about adultery.

If you had to be locked inside one gallery overnight, which would it be and why?

I’d have to go for Kettle’s Yard just so I could chill in The House. It’s one of those places that is just painfully beautiful. It’s curator Jim Ede and Helen Ede’s former home and is restored and kept as if they never left. Sometimes I think: what the hell is a curator. Like… What do they actually do? What’s the point? And then I walk around The House and I’m like oh ok. Yep. Everything is so beautifully placed to consider lighting as the sun moves, there’s paintings hanging low along skirting boards, sculptures from his famous artist friends are dotted everywhere, bowls of flowers sit next to arranged stones, seating is placed to create cosy reading nooks throughout and even the light switches are cool.

What was the last book you didn’t manage to finish?

I’ve been reading Rutger Bregman’s A Hopeful History of Mankind for months….years? Decades? It’s super interesting, and I loved his first book, but sometimes I like being cynical and pessimistic about the world. Kind of like shrek and his swamp. It’s fun to hate stuff.

Have you ever heard a song that feels like it HAD to be written about you? What was it and why?

I waitressed for two years and I used to listen to 'Don’t You Want Me' by The Human League just so I could shout SHE WAS WORKING AS A WAITRESS IN A COCKTAIL BAR. I worked in a chain restaurant not a cocktail bar, but let’s just skip that part because it really made me feel like a main character.

If you could have written one play/novel/poem/song, what would it be and why?

Ryszard Krynicki’s poem 'I can’t help you'. Honestly when I first read it, I was so pissed off. He got things I can only say in messy paragraphs and filtered it down to 13 words. What a skill. Haunting and concise, it feels like a bullet.

Maddie Exton.
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