We didn’t know what to expect.
We flew all that way, clutching our work for what was variously described as group show, party, event, and actually, more accurately, a “happening”.
People turned up throughout the evening and hung their own work, uncurated, other than “where will this fit or look best?” Nails were banged into the wall… Occasionally screws were banged into the wall… And also banged THROUGH work. My two bras were hung from the ceiling. I had said I would also sing. The rule was each artist could hang one piece of work, up until 9pm, when they could hang more if there was space. Everyone wrote their own labels and slapped them up on the wall. At various points during this evening of fun and hilarity I was pushed beyond my comfort barrier. Anyone who has shown work with or for me will know I am rather obsessive about how things are hung and labelled. For this event that was impossible, so I had to let it go.
What was fascinating was how the exhibition evolved throughout the evening. At various points it looked amazing, I’d go away for a glass of wine or a crisp, turn my back for five minutes then someone else had arrived and hung their work which would wreck my own personal aesthetic. But then after the next person arrived and hung theirs, curiously it would be restored and make a sort of sense again. It wasn’t finished until the minute when the lights were switched off and the door was locked by the last person left. Then it stayed up for the weekend.
Late in the evening, performances started… A couple of sound pieces, a performance involving a lace tablecloth cape, a couple of oranges and a tub of something that may have been nuts, shaken not stirred… Some things maybe lost in translation? Then it was my turn. You can find a video of my performance on Instagram and facebook. (As I post I am unable to link to this… I’ll have another go later, but wanted to post as soon as possible)
This is the first performance I have done live in a gallery. My first audience not made up of members of the songwriters’ circle, or the poetry group, but an art audience… I braced myself and dived in. I’m not totally happy with what I see. But I am also accepting of the fact that I am unlikely to be happy with the first time. I’m probably never going to be happy. Me, songwriting, exhibiting and performance is an evolving thing, much like the “happening” itself. So I let it go and put it out there.
Discussions were had about connections between bras and songs, and members of my generous Swedish audience expressed very positive ideas about me being the connection, that the performing me being the connection between song and bra. Having mostly recorded and played back in the gallery space previously, this requires some thought…
We talked of costume and props, both of which make me feel excruciatingly embarrassed and self conscious. More so than just sitting amongst the party detritus that was there before I was.
I’m not that bothered if you don’t like it, or don’t see the point of me doing it. It’s my own work and I’m following my nose… It’ll make sense at some point. Maybe.