I really am the world’s worst time manager; I had been hoping to do a weblog of the poetry collaboration but time keeps slipping away. I have however managed to find out how to upload an MP3 track for it, so let’s hope I can do get it down again!
A long time ago I agreed to a low key exhibition in a theatre that had just re-designated itself as an Arts Centre. The promised exhibition space is pretty disastrous, but we plough on. The exhibition has become ‘Three artists, Three sheets, Three Weeks. The hope is that we can use the time to progress our individual interests and that the choice of support will push us out from our normal practice. We now have only two weeks left and apart from having managed to purchase fitted rather than flat sheets all three of us are now truly engaged with the project.
My recent reading- Rodinsky’s Room – a collaborative nonfiction story by an artist and a writer – has reawakened my interest in 1940’s Jewish life. There is something unbearably poignant in the fragile ordinariness of the lives that when photographed were about to be erased by a ruthless political machine. Maybe that emotion is present in all situations where looking back we – the viewer- retrospectively knows an outcome that the viewed did not.
Rodinskys shadow is still on me and making an art work seems somehow a necessary part of breaking that spell. I toy with the idea of using my sheet as a Tallit. The tallit is a short tabard worn by some orthodox Jewish men man under their outer garments. At all four corners of the Tallit are tzitzt – woven and knotted fringes that remind the orthodox of their religious duties. I am not sure why I feel the need to use this format and am still unsure. I am cautious and afraid of causing offence.
I have arranged to visit my elderly mother to trawl through some family documents with her. I am hoping to connect with something from my grandfather’s past, from the days before he was deported to Riga Concentration camp.
I have reservations about the project on several scores but one is that by involving my mother in this intense way I will invest it with a greater significance than the quality of work will be able to bear.
While researching I discover a T-shirt for sale on the internet:
‘My grandfather died in Auschwitz’ it declares across a graphic depiction of barbed wire. ‘He fell off a Watch Tower’.
My surge of anger subsides as I realise what it actually says. How strange that this Comedy Night humour which I can plainly see for what it is and actually find quite clever and amusing nonetheless follows me around all day.
I think I am still unsure as to what my reaction actually is.