(I started writing this a week ago but only just had time to finish.)
I am sitting in my new studio. It is lovely and spacious, and noisy! I look over a busy junction below. Since I arrived today I have swept, hoovered, mopped, cleaned and tided the space. As I was carrying out this work I was thinking about a manifesto by the artist Merle Laderman Ukeles which I read in this week.
Here is an extract:
“I am an artist. I am a woman. I am a wife. I am a mother. (Random order).
I do a hell of a lot of washing, cleaning, cooking, renewing, supporting, preserving, etc. Also, up to now separately I “do” Art.
Now, I will simply do these maintenance everyday things, and flush them up to consciousness, exhibit them, as Art.
I will live in the museum and I customarily do at home with my husband and my baby, for the duration of the exhibition. (Right? or if you don’t want me around at night I would come in every day) and do all these things as public Art activities: I will sweep and wax the floors, dust everything, wash the walls (i.e. “floor paintings, dust works, soap- sculpture, wall-paintings”) cook, invite people to eat, make agglomerations and dispositions of all functional refuse.
The exhibition area might look “empty” of art, but it will be maintained in full public view.
MY WORKING WILL BE THE WORK”
A lot of what I do at the moment is maintenance. It’s the everyday, repetitive, unseen tasks that need to happen. I’m wondering how this might also become part of my art practice.
One thing I do a lot is walk (whilst pushing the pushchair). I started thinking how the walking could become part of my art practice.
I’ve been trying out a bit of buggy psychogeography. We walked around Brighton marina on a grey morning as abie slept, and noticed the flatness of the architecture, watched the lock gates opening to allow sailing boats through, and spied on the back of ASDA at the maintenance and distribution yards. It’s Interesting how modern buildings and places try to hide or cover up maintenance, refuse and the ‘back-end’ of the functions of the building. A bit like motherhood, so much work going on unseen.
This week I have also carried an ironing board, and a lot of plants, on the pushchair. I thought about working out how much I could carry on the pushchair, and making a special frame that extends capacity. Walking with a pushchair changes how you negotiate the city and the street.
I also found a lost lion by a water fountain.