There wasn’t enough space in my last post to include the titles of two books that people have recently recommended – they’re both well worth a read, especially if like me, you’re interested in the emotional attachments we make to the things that surround us in our everyday lives. I’ve been reading specifically around this theme, partly in response to resurrecting 10×10 over the past couple of weeks but also in preparation for responding to questions currently being sent through to me by artist/curator, Jane Boyer. Jane is interviewing all artists included in her ‘This Me of Mine’ exhibition to be launched in March 2013.
‘Evocative Objects: The Things we Think With’ is a book which was recommended to me some time back – here, on Artists Talking by artist/blogger Elena Thomas. On the surface it’s a book made up of people’s personal accounts of the attachments they make to the various everyday objects featuring in their lives. But the book digs deeper than that and editor, Sherry Turkle teams up the autobiographical essays with comments from philosophers, psychoanalysts and other professionals with great insight. It’s an informative book and I’ve really enjoyed reading it; it’s written in plain English – accessible and easy to read and understand.
Another book that’s really drawn me in came from another recommendation, this time by Graham Crowley – ‘Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Leonore Doolan and Harold Morris, including Books, Street Fashion and Jewelry.’ The title slightly unnerved me – would this be another of those art books I was destined to not ‘get’ – the language being too complex to understand. In fact it’s turned out to be one of the most accessible books on art I’ve ever come across (well, it is primarily photos!) and at less than £3, secondhand on e-bay, it feels like a really good investment.
Created by Canadian artist Leanne Shapton, it takes the form of an auctioneer’s catalogue and offers us amazing insight into the story of a failed romantic relationship – all through short snippets of text and photographs of invented memorabilia and relics belonging to an equally fictional couple. It’s an astounding book, demonstrating brilliantly how the objects we surround ourselves with can say so much about us – our inner emotional world, our social and political standing in society and the external image we present to others. Shapton gets beyond just the love and sex in her portrayal of her fictional couple’s four year relationship and ‘Important Artifacts ..’ becomes a commentary on class, gender, money and branding amongst other things.
The theme of objects and the emotional value we attach to them continues to be very present, then; there’s so much to think about in relation to it at the moment in terms of my work. The story behind the perfume bottle is ready, waiting to be relayed, my responses to Jane’s questions have to be thought about and returned to her and I’m continuing to dig deep into the recesses of those storage boxes in the studio in search of further memorabilia to complete the work I’m submitting for Harry Pye’s exhibition, ‘I Remember’ in November.
It feels like a busy time, though having caught up again with Wendy William’s and Julie Dodd’s blogs over the weekend, it’s all relative! The pressure nevertheless is on to get some artwork made. And I can’t help but wonder – does writing about it all here, help or hinder my practice? I haven’t even started writing up the vintage perfume bottle story yet …