Now that the Saatchi show is over I feel that I am left with a lot of unanswered questions, and the feeling that the programme has sent out some very mixed messages. I am still disappointed that the series was only four episodes, and I am sure that I am not the only one that would have liked to see a much more in-depth approach.
That the last two standing were Eugenie and Matt held no surprises. By coincidence I had been to the Saatchi Gallery last Tuesday, to see the Abstract America Exhibition. I had come away from that largely underwhelmed and indifferent. The work of the young hopefuls (the YHAs) easily held its own in comparison and on its own merits.
I found the views of the judges interesting: Matt’s caravan was admired for its forethought and craft; Eugenie’s grappling hook was so reviled for its lack of craft that any rationale wasn’t even considered. There is a lesson buried in there somewhere.
The serendipitous-log-on-fence was a winner from the outset – it looked like it belonged in a gallery, and Suki’s video of flocking starlings was appreciated in the opening episode for pretty much the same reasons. Both works are equally awe-inspiring and equally vapid. Nature did all the work. They are transformed by contextualisation. Bill Oddie brought us the same clouds of starlings.
By the way, I don’t mean to sound like I am knocking anyone. I’m not, I’m thinking aloud – this is a blog, after all.
I wonder if perhaps log-on-fence works because of its resemblance to a particular type of artwork, such as (but certainly infinitely more intelligent than) Peter Coffin’s Spiral Staircase. Would Eugenie have been selected had it not been for her lucky encounter with the fence? There is a good chance that perhaps she would, because the selectors saw potential, acknowledged that she takes risks. I admire that.
We saw a lot of open thinking. I suspect that we will see more of some of the others, and I hope we do for the right reasons.
As a footnote, I see that there is a Eugenie Scrase fan page on Facebook. Already tainted by bile and sycophancy. It seems that the celebrity machine is autonomous.
I was musing on the things that can impact on my working day. I have been self-employed for many many years, and for most of that time, like now, I have had a studio at home. I can therefore say with a fair amount of first-hand experience that it is vital to be self-disciplined and to have a professional attitude to the working day – especially if the studio is at home. I don’t mean 9 to 5 necessarily (my days are frequently very long, and I don’t really stop work when I’m not actually in the studio), I mean in approach.
We have two dogs. The first of these came into the house almost exactly 13 years ago, after the realisation that I was rarely leaving the house because the commute to the studio meant walking up a flight of stairs. Not healthy for mind or body. To cut a long story short, my day got going after breakfast with a long walk (an hour and a half) along the beach, in all weathers. A Jack Russell, a lively Springer Spaniel, and driving rain really get the blood flowing. Back home by 8.30, well set up for work, up the stairs to the studio with a cup of coffee, fingers still tingling from the cold and head buzzing with thoughts.
The dogs are old now, and the Springer is quite creaky (they both came from the RSPCA and were already a couple of years old when we got them), so sadly the bracing walk is now a slow meander, mid-morning. I have adapted my routine to suit, but I realise that the dogs may not be around much longer, and I will need to adapt my routine again.
I spent some time this morning looking for an alternative broadband supplier. Strictly speaking it is ‘admin’ because the computer is for the studio and rarely used for private stuff, but I still feel slightly guilty that I should have done that in my ‘own’ time.
Not much time in the studio but have had a very successful few days. I took part in a workshop with Emilia Telese on Wednesday and thoroughly enjoyed it. She is an absolute delight, highly professional and very knowledgeable.
On a completely different note, I have now finished re-writing my statement! Woo hoo! What had started out as a necessary and long overdue chore turned into a highly satisfying experience.