Working up to the Q Carpark Chinese New year group show I had just dived headlong into the work of Lucebert and Henri Michaux. Both were poets and painters. Both worked in the gap between art and life, tinkering with the settings of consensus reality that is defined by the limits of language and more specifically written language. I was interested in how returning to their methodoligies could help engage with Derrida’s ideas of the trace and the disjunct from thought in its most elemental form. The restrictions of the venue mean that wall hanging is far from easy and also looks pretty feeble in such an industrial space. The lattice work of pipes and wiring make it more suited to hanging within the space. So with recto and verso in mind I hung the canvases in space defining clusters that could be viewed from back or front. A sort of absurdist Shoji. Knowledge (written word) in the enlightened consensus fashion sits on the surface of the page so this exhibition was a chance to disrupt that. To interfere with the presumption that written word is medium for reason. The canvases combine words and pictures scribed and daubed. The biggest break through was realising that marks that look like words but aren’t (asemic poetry) could add to the ryhthm and meaning. The title scapegoat refers in part to the new year but also to Derrida’s description of the status of written word as corruption of spoken word (atleast that is the paradigm we have culturally). The paradox is that as enlightened rationalists defined by written language we have an “inability to think how philosophy itself is determined by something that escapes it.” The works I made are an attempt to somehow hack into the paradigm and open a portal between reason and the creative well spring.
and here is a guided tour with the live dripping pipe audio sound. One day I may use this as a stand alone audio work. Drip drip drip drop
The first ever reading go a poem I had yet to finish. This was in the spirit of the AVA Gallery Realty show being a paean to process and the paradox of seeking an essential state through rationality.
Thanks to Martin Barrett for filming
This film was part of the Realty installation at the AVA Gallery UEL E16 in Jan 2015. The drawings are those made over the course of January 2015 before I had gotten dressed. In other words before I enter the realm of the enlightened. To make the morning drawings I wear my dressing gown and sit in the attic whilst sending a bucket down into the well spring below. Some of the drawings were displayed as photocopies to be taken by visitors – Free Art – although encouraging people to take stuff remains a puzzle. The drips of the sound track are the disruptive splurge of the unconscious as it seeps into the everyday. Splurge spot splot splink.
The recent installation in the AVA Gallery space led to two significant insights. One was regarding the activation of the space through presence. It would appear that ritualising this presence helps to activate the space in an altered state. By this I mean the audience are somehow more connected to the work rather than viewing it from outside wondering what they are being told. This altered state could be simply that they are more sympathetic due to the artist’s disarming manner or more interestingly that meaning itself is derived on a more experiential level.
I chose to wear a dressing gown because of the sense of displacement that could arise but I am happy to report that it was not so “other” that it caused a rift. I ask myself is this stage craft or ritual? Or both? The idea of art aspiring for a self-sustainable form like music is a necessary illusion. I mean the striving for an essence may be futile but trying results in something resonant that bridges the specific and the universal. Bridging is something that Jim Dine (another fan of the dressing gown) was good at. Whilst his work lacks the iconic and virtuoso touch of Rauschenberg it definitely explores the paradox of the artist trying to shake off their own shadow. He revels in the specificity of the personal not in a self-aggrandising way but in a direct way that seems to share the same wonder at the everyday as the English romantic poets.
here’s me in-canting under the moon
shot by Dean Todd
For my recent installation at the AVA Gallery E16 I creationed a new word for reality incorporating the idea shared by Dostoyevsky and Carroll (Alice) that nonsense can give us an insight into the nature of real life. I learnt about how occupying the space with reading aloud somehow activates a coalescence through poetic exhilaration. The key phrase was “Does the moon disappear when I’m not looking AT IT?” THIS WAS Einstein’s repost to the notion that physicists actually bring into existence the particles they observe – this for me is analogous to the loop of creating and observing.
First here is a looping walk through from behind the curtain followed by a more impressionistic transcription
In the back room we found the moon behind a curtain. How do I look behind the curtain without peeping?