Visual art exhibitions and events with a platform for critical writing
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By: Richard Taylor
# 102 [14 June 2012]
Dogs or Kids
A shark's body had cracked in two.
Its remains were awash the steps in front of where we picnicked that day.
The tower that loomed in front of us had no bottom.
It dissolved in the surf, which licked at lower stone and iron abdomen.
The unrelenting stone of ages smacked a dull thud upon my crown as I reached the top of the watch tower. The Portuguese had build it strong and unforgiving and so I stepped out on to the ringed plateau with a shade in my eye. Dizziness took me and much of everything else dropped from my arms. Life is not Chess, but this Ruck was unmoved and otherwise straight in force. I manoeuvred to the wall to rest each buttock on the side-stone; cold in the shade I came too and saw him before me, his head silhouette blocking the sun. It was then that we turned to look below. Fragmented white and blue foam like sequins embellished in the heat and beaches that stretched as far as the curving land could go.
Slow heaps of dunes patched with green grass and glistening movement.
The door slammed and I was alone again.
We reached the shore through a thicket of sharpening knives otherwise known as gorse and rested a while on the rocks at the East end of the beach. A power station dominated the horizon and the heat arising sifted any existing foundations into bleached haze. The gargantuan build floated like a castle in the distance as we gazed at families in the foreground. Kids ran naked too and fro, from sea to sand land and back, pissing in the waves, charging at the sky.
We clambered down to walk a stretch of sand daring the waves with our toes. Soon jellyfish were more exciting and less alive washed up on the shore, drying out in the sun. My legs neck nose and forehead stung and our water supply was running low.
Its as if they had watched too many nature programmes. Their movements were exactly like the Meerkats at Butterfly World in Leeds, and they were just as exposed. But this was East Lothian and we were on the beach. The sun was shooting its rays along the coast and against the wet sand, up in to our eyes upon our foreheads burning pasty calves along the way. We turned our gaze inland away from the water to rest our eyes upon the palette of reeds and green grass amongst sand dunes. It was here the animals began to play.
One man stood all of a sudden atop the highest dune like a king set amongst cloudless skies. He was tanned and, as he started to pull down his lower garments, we could see this was an all over tan. So he was used to being naked. After a while two more men stood in the same way, but on lower dunes, and a hierarchy was played out as more nakedness appeared. Then two more men and two more and soon the dunes were full of buttocks thighs and clean shaven skin. Their obviousness matched their ability to remain as animals in a new kingdom; cruising they were and all we could do was watch as if visitors in a zoo. Thankfully we saw no intercourse, this must have happened as they dropped beneath the grass again and out of sight. And this did happen, they did drop, and all came together under the watchful eye of the top most gay man.
# 101 [28 May 2012]
So this is all for him? Introducing 'lady erricson'
We need to talk about lady erricson
It comprises of?
>a poster, two small yellow plastic objects with inlets to slot and hold the poster's form, oil paint and black electrical tape<
In all intent and purpose it is a painting, what, or a sculpture?
>it is a prop that adheres to other drawn content in the show, which is painted and adjusted according to character and resonance with other works by Jennifer Picken and myself<
To what extend does it stand?
>it stands on its own two feet, which have been carefully cut from the rolled and then slightly unrolled poster<
What was the content of the poster?
>it was an advertisement for a Sony Erricson phone, but the content, save the lady's face, has been dis-continued with either overlaid paint or by folds and cuts in making the prop<
So, during the process of the props manifestation the original source material was left to ruin?
"The colours of 'lady erricson' are from a page cut out from a design magazine, displaying a prototype wardrobe of sorts, which looks (and has now been collaged to look) like a tower. The pallet therefore of much of the work by Richard in the show 'Au Dessus De to Hunters Tryst', is sourced from this very page cut out and 'lady erricson' sets the scene as it were, for the installation and adornment of other found and altered pieces."
<yes, war paint>
# 100 [28 May 2012]
Map team please this is important
Introducing 'Globe Lilo Wash': "All the work wanted to do was expand so I had to dress it quickly in fur and silver"
The fur was taken from a taxidermied squirrel that lived in the northern edges of The Kingdom near the shores of the River Tay. The small disco ball was taken from the pavement of George IV Bridge in Edinburgh. The plastic is from somewhere else. The paint was brought from North East Derbyshire, given to me from a widower who's wife used to paint by numbers.
According to its proximity to a light source (a glass globe wedged in to a strip light installed lengthways on the floor) this object makes up an oddly constructed ball shaped oil painting.
"I thought of this on the final hour of the residency. I was also thinking of what to pack and take home with me. This work was largely about packing everything in to one place but also accepting some things would be laid to waste. My compadre took an excursion in the beginning days of our stay in the gallery. Out on the streets of Amsterdam she found a bright yellow lilo and dragged its deflated existence on to the apartment floor. She cut from it a breast to use as a casting device, and left its remains in the corner behind the speaker that spoke the candid words of Alanis Morissette for 301 hours straight. In this last hour I had locked myself in the room and decided to make something of the yellow left overs: this is how I did it…"
It looked like something that had been screwed up so much that all that could happen was for it to then expand. I guess the purpose of the work was to negotiate the material's instability - to screw and fold and to spend time close to the plastic mass. To then cut in to, take from and pull out its insides and make it formalise enough for it to look as if it could somehow stand up. What struck me most of all was its war paint, its still wet war paint, brown, red, green and blue - straight from the tube no less.
"The trick was to deal with its three-dimensionality in character and form. To apply paint was a strategic exercise in limiting the amount of smudging on myself and the surrounds. What came from this was a strange sort of character similar to the demise of Tetsuo in the 1988 Japanese film 'Akira'."
It also matched the monstrous and orifice forms of Jennifer, her sticky toffee wig and black masses needed some sort of colourful comparison.
"So you like Japanese films?"
"Yes, they inspire me and allow me to make the work I make"
"But you are English"
# 99 [17 May 2012]
The writer will tell you of his game
"Decks were always in the basement but the noise always hit the attic rooms full of smoke chat drugs and hellos to morning light. At a good hour the basement filled with people and dub step sounded out to everyone's hearts. Girls would grind the decks with hard-edged repeated movements, their hair tied back with skirts and tights at a functional height to assist proper dance. There was more room for proper games outside though and you could leave via the back door, just a few steep steps up to the kitchen, out to the courtyard and out on to the backstreets of Paper Rubbish Row"
He always manages to start with a drawing, straight forward pencil and paper that then reveals character, mode, story encapsulated composition and narrative. The title comes from somewhere else when the props, synonymous with marks on the page and gradations of led, are held painted and placed in to the space. Then come the photographic memories and the conversations withheld; the escapes; the play; the ladders over walls and deaths on spiked iron fencing that never made it as far as the war effort.
So the title of this piece is "Game two; Tower Colour Cave".
The work is a drawing in all intents and purposes, but also a direct confrontation of framing; the work is framed by the idea and its content, not a physical and conserving wooden encapsulation, so is displayed next to other found and folded pieces, also fixed to the wall, which build on its installation and relationship to other objects and works in the room.
I want to introduce the drawing through direct wording:
It shows two characters, both men, one instructing the other the other taking instruction. They are in a makeshift pavilion like space - a play space that has been constructed indoors; many an object and mask and shape adorns the floor as the instructor gives tips to the other man on how he should fire his bow. The other man holds what should be like some kind of bow, but in fact it is a useless piece of ephemera likened to the metal part of a windscreen-wiper. The action that would unfold is a game-play or a practice of performance, fight or confrontation - more than anything it is training. On the back of the instructor is strapped a doll dressed to look like a woman; an arrow pierces her left knee and another pierces her right breast but she is a doll for target practice so that is all fine. You get the idea that out of frame, the instructor would then proceed to be a target for the man holding the bow, but it is not entirely clear how the game will play out. Small tower shaped objects fill out the background and foreground, these relate to other works in the gallery where the drawing hangs. To the right of the drawing hangs four other pieces; these are taken from magazine pages. One is solid layer of the colour red. Attached to this is one piece of thin metal taken from a car windscreen-wiper. Another piece is a glossier page which has been collaged to formulate a tower shape - there are many colours within this: great big colourful pastel colours that were used as a pallet for other paintings in the space. Attached to this is another piece of metal identical to the other. The next piece is a small cutting from the glossy page. There is a further and final piece that hangs to the right and is pencilled on to the wall to look as if it hangs on a piece of string - this is another cutting from the same page.
"Are you English?"
# 98 [16 May 2012]
Introducing 'I lick your badge'
"It seems more like a hamster cage than a painting"
"I guess I try to make paintings but they always fail and fall or deconstruct themselves in to objects. 'I lick your badge' is the first one I have ever made that hangs lightly from the ceiling - it is framed elegantly by the rest of the work in the room (also paintings and other constructions of light, wigs, origami and found objects)."
"There is a true music to object - and this sure can dance to it, it twists and it turns and it looks like a hybrid between Pinata and Patsy from Ab Fab's beehive hairdo. A Pinata that has been smashed and then glued back together by a greedy and premature child trying to cover his bad tracks and a Patsy full of drugs cut by the witch in Spirited Away"
"So where does the painting come in? Well, there sure is still a surface but the surface moves and glosses - and as the material, bunched together as it is, is three-dimensional the painting becomes more like a dressing of a cake or adorning of a prop. Its just a bad cake and a bad prop that is subject to its positioning in the room - it is a war cake prop."
"This prop is for battle then, to affect the room and dominate the space - yet it is so light and nothing with shit stuck in it"
"Are you Japanese?"
# 97 [16 May 2012]
A collection of perspectives for round two of the performance "Whistle Blower your Table Shine is Mine: Seduce and Destroy", presented on Friday 11th May 2012, as part of Jennifer Picken and Richard Taylor's 301 hour GO-GO residency at AWA Gallery, Amsterdam.
Perspective of father who enters my work constantly and somehow never leaves; "I think the concept for your performance was good but I was a bit shocked by the content."
"Was this all according to plan?"
We entered the gallery around 8.30pm. We were hit by smoke and fire and voice resounding in the cavernous room; "Game two... game two is about to start" the whisper reached us as we treaded towards the centre "Game two is about to start and its subtitle is 'tower colour cave'... so... expect Towers Colour and Caves". They could not have been more wrong.
I had been to their previous performance in Glasgow a few weeks before but this time around it felt altogether more planned; more amassed and according to the space around them. This time they had a singer, here's how it played out...
"So I was led by hand down the steps; the rehearsal was earlier in the day when there was more light. At the time of the performance I could not see a thing in front of me. Whilst holding Javier's hand I staggered unbalanced towards my starting point: the chair with projector and propped mirror, which would be used as a balancing of my guise and also as my own visual reader throughout the following ten or so minutes.
The sound track began, by this time I knew Javier was in place - I started to lift the mirror away from the projector slowly filling the room with light. I used the light to shine on the audience around me to get a better idea of their placing in accordance to each step I would take. The sound bellowed on. I stepped further in to the room filling it with more light using the mirror to reflect and navigate.
She was there waiting for me in the middle, half hidden behind the black box - I had to use my light source to find her and managed only to locate a faint sequinned glitter, which I knew was her head, her dirty disguised head with red lips below. We had practiced this. This movement and display. Javier began to sing and we took this as our cue, me and her, to round one another up, size each other up, chase each other as if entering in to circulatory and stifled battle.
I moved with the rhythm of his tonal range, which believe me was a range and a half that pinned the audience to the walls of the gallery: I was fine with this, it gave me more room to manoeuvre. I chased her and on occasion she stood her ground - neither of us gave in yet we agreed once in a while to relent for the other to move off and gather thought and posture. It was a civilised confrontation.
Javier reached the end of his blasphemous cycle of jugular acrobatics and it was time for silent come together movement. Now the two battling parts came forth to the centre to open the box, remove its contents and then reshape the lid as a plinth. More sequins and a dismembered orifice: vaginal anal beautiful it was an object of sexual aspiration for us both.
Then another recording, which sounded out a meddling of each other's perspective. A sexual encounter woven in to how one would like to encounter the other sex. Altogether story led, accented and direct in every possible way."
# 96 [25 April 2012]
Performance looming, films being made, GI happens its happening now
"Its been some what of a slog, but slogs are good when you really know how to knock them out of the court with some good old fashioned 'sod this let's just enjoy ourselves'."
'Parallèlement à l'intérieur (au-dessus de)’ the project I am collaborating on with Jennifer Picken is now installed in three different places around Glasgow, threading in to Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art (GI).
The Mutual artist group have coined each of these places 'Muster Points', places of information, collection. We decided to use three out of their four spaces to elaborate on aspects of the work we have been making.
Muster point, Trongate 103
Here we have two sculptural works installed in the space next to a monitor that displays three separate films we have made for the project; 'Radish Journey', 'True Music to Object-hood' and 'sound from tunnel and back'.
Muster point, Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA)
Here we have the same films on display on a similar monitor and have also produced an intervention using the last two manifestos conceived during the build up to GI (see http://tinyurl.com/breakdestroy4 and see http://tinyurl.com/whistleblower5 ), these have been printed as posters on to A3 paper and pinned to the wall amongst other posters and flyers for other events (GI and otherwise) on the first floor entrance to the building. The other posters are of course timely with our own project's first instalment; this is a deliberate use of space, engendering the manifestos with a formula usually attached to the 'poster' format. The manifestos themselves are not posters though, they sort of hang in between as ideas or proposals for art works and further interventions. They get taken over and get taken down as more people add their events to the room, and as our project runs its course.
Muster point, The Glue Factory
Here we have a larger selection of object-based work, painted objects, cardboard sculptures, drawings, leaking sacks, lubed up black holes and dangling golden plastic hair. The installation as a whole doubles up as a stage set as we have a performance in the very same room on Saturday 28th April, entitled 'Whistle Blower your table shine is mine: Seduce and Destroy'. In fact, its worth mentioning, the final Manifesto, which Jennie produced and is now on display at CCA, acts as a sort of pre-cursor to to the performance.
More about the performance to come after the weekend. We have produced a short story in order to help us script and pace the event. The story talks about the performance as if it has already happened, from the perspective on an audience member.
In case you're in Glasgow on Saturday and want to come along, it starts (with means to go on) at 5pm at The Mutual Charter Muster Point, The Glue Factory - for more details see the Facebook event here - http://www.facebook.com/events/345045302224903
The performance will introduce a further story written by Jennie and will feature a new film produced by myself specially for the live event!
For more details and addresses of where to find 'Parallèlement à l'intérieur (au-dessus de)’ during GI see - http://tinyurl.com/audessusde
# 95 [3 April 2012]
GI 2012, Amsterdam and Overtoom, Edinburgh Detour Library.
I have been itching around for most of the morning staring at the windowsill and the outside. My housemates re-arranged the living room the other day to accommodate easier access to their new grow-your-own tomato plants. It was snowing. Now its just windy and the windows sound loose: I guess that's my soundtrack for the day - rattling windows. Anyway, I have been skirting around an update on this blog for a while now and I always like to set the scene.
Things are most positively underway for the project 'Parallèlement à l'intérieur (au-dessus de)’, which I am producing with artist Jennifer Picken. We have work (almost completed), ready to install in the Centre for Contemporary Arts, the Lighthouse, the Glue Factory and Trongate 103: for Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art and The Mutual Charter. Things are getting exciting and we have a performance planned for the second weekend of the festival, which will play out at the Glue Factory also.
See - http://www.glasgowinternational.org/index.php/even...
And see - http://cargocollective.com/audessusde
We also have a longer-standing, but private, blog where ideas sharing, screen sharing and general uploading of content has been 'happening' since August 2011: a lot of content that's really rich in collaborative endeavour. We are yet to decide if the url for this blog should be disclosed…
Jennifer and I have also got a two-week residency at AWA gallery, at Overtoom301 in Amsterdam, which starts straight after the GI festival: this will continue the working project developing its content and bringing the so far virtual collaboration in to the realm of the 'real'. I will sleep on a shelf smothered in smoke: things will happen.
Another project, which has almost reached conclusion, is a slightly quieter stream in face of the mountain river that is GI and Amsterdam. Artist Becky Campbell, who is based in Edinburgh, invited me to take part in 'Detour Library', a touring collection of artist books that will be placed in different collections over an indefinite period of time: starting with the Artists' Bookmarket at The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh on April 14th 2012. I have been busying myself by delving in to past projects, discovering left over bits of work that I felt needed some form of resolution or indeed needed re-visiting in order to build them in to further research. The result will be set of three posters and three photo/word cards as loose-leaf pages. The abstract for the collected pages is outlined below in a short story/introduction (this will bind the pages together).
A Search For Dead Sculptor (Albert|Jack|Excavate)
to build around chronology of work done, familial conext of objects in possession, and the role-on fabrication of art-works thrice fold
three times posters for performance, state and film
three times picture/word cards with story inclosed
In Search of the dead sculptor (Albert|Jack|Excavate)
He used to work in a research library that focussed on the subject of sculpture, one room was for British sculpture and reference alone - another for international commentary on the subject. Other corridors and vitrines were set aside for exhibition catalogues and thematic publications on historical periods and philosophical definitions. Every odd Wednesday and Saturday or Sunday, he would re-shelve the relevant books to the relevant places, using either a numbered or alphabetised system. Another duty was to leaf through weekend papers picking out relevant news clippings on sculptors, or exhibitions on sculpture (or indeed the obituaries, where recently deceased sculptors - stone carvers, cast moulders and assemblage balancers etc. - would be lamented in type).
The first room mentioned had a section in the far left corner. This section was alphabetised with loose leaf box-folders, which housed sculptors from a through to z. News clippings, posters, photocards, post cards, private view invites etc. were slotted in to the relevant sections: the result being an archive model for visitors to the library to gather further information on their specific measurements in research.
now there is snow again!
# 94 [21 February 2012]
Recommendations to house in garden
I wandered in to the botanical gardens the other day and felt strangely west-end-Glasgow-esque, for the ones built on the east of the central belt of Scotland are definitely of the same architectural era, yet they are not free. In Glasgow they are free, and an ice-cream hut lives outside next to the vegetable patch where Shakespearian recitals play out amongst growth and glow worms.
In this particular garden in Edinburgh, a house plants itself on top of the hill - more halls and rooms for more work to be viewed and the outside to be accounted for. Upon leaving the said house-cum-gallery to collect my coat I noticed a scanned copy of an article published by the Independent: a recommendation for people to visit the gallery. More for its placing and curatorial stance against the backdrop of views and foliage than anything else. But there is more perspective than four walls, for each room also has a window...
I do remember a time when hours were passed in great halls of sculpture, my friend hailed from Wrexham or thereabouts, she now resides in Korea. But for a time we inhabited the same imaginary open plan living space - the place where Sunday afternoons were regardless of visitors. We maintained our shared head space and dreamt of further projects. The white cube, in hindsight, was more of a catalyst for an in-transit or transformative lifestyle.
There we read everything backwards, each word was taken, read, and then the word before was to follow instead of lead. A strange performed language exuded from a need to translate your speech for others to understand: hand movements and head nods were needed to emphasise certain bits and certain bobs. Its as if we wanted to reach the end before we accepted the beginning. A literary style perhaps for the stories we would prefer to tell.
Now we have more of a voice to tell them
# 93 [21 February 2012]
You shall get used to it whether you like it or not
This weekend gone (February 17-19th), Tramway in Glasgow hosted a symposium on emerging artists in Scotland, including commissioned and integrated contributions from Collective Gallery's New Work Scotland 2011 programme.
For this, I was approached by the Glasgow based artist Olver Braid to produce a film, using a monologue written by Hugh Dichmont, who lives and works in Nottingham. I worked with two actors, Gary Reid and Iain Morrison (both of which live near me in Edinburgh), who interpreted the monologue to camera.
Below is the result of this project.
Other videos including the one below are viewable for a brief time on this website: http://www.youllgetusedtoit.com
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As a multi-disciplinary artist [self-diagnosed], I find myself thinking about works that need to be realised and how this can be done. A blog seems to be an apt medium to use and communicate with - in the mean time and inbetween time!