It feels as though it is definitely time to get some feedback on my work. While I am sketching and daydreaming in preparation for my future studio I notice that my ideas and fantasy projects cover a range that is far from consistent and focused. It seems as though I could enjoyably follow a number paths that branch out from my recent activities. And at the same time I do want to focus my time and energies in the hope of beginning to establish an artistic identity here in Sweden that is useful to both other people and to me! Perhaps it is my rather flexible, adaptable, fluid practice that both enables and disables me: it enables me in that I can respond to different and diverse opportunities, it disables me in that I do not have a well founded depth of work that is easily summarised.
Is it important for me to see connections between various individual pieces? Or perhaps I should turn that question around: why am I concerned that this morning’s sketches for ‘real’ sculptures seem so foreign to most of my previous work.
The majority of my work to date has a strong conceptual or theoretical aspect that is apparent (to me at least) in, either one or all, of the following: materiality, visual form, cultural reference, placement, art historical reference, and subjectivity. The pencil sketches of large sculptural forms that I made a few hours ago are not immediately, and may never be, justifiable in logical linguistic terms, nor do they seem to refer to the concerns mentioned above. Instead they show forms that I am interested in making real to see how they are – it is as simple as that.
Sometimes I wonder if my persistent engagement with art is precisely because I do not get it! Art remains unknowable and intangible to me – particularly art that makes no claim on research, personal or political relevance, story-telling, and the like. My relation to ‘accountability’ rises up! Do I want my practice to be accountable? Do I want my practice to give an account?
These questions are not entirely unfamiliar, nor is it surprising that I return to them as the memories of the various courses that I have recently taken fade and as my literal distance from the various academic institutions becomes increasingly real. 40 minutes (but a million miles) from great seats of learning and sites of philosophical discussion I find myself seeming to have come full circle. I feel that I am at a place of questioning my intentions and ambitions with my practice. Standing at my worktable this morning I made a series of sketches that had little to do with anything that I could substantiate, they had more to do with a re-awakened sense of intuition.
Two weekends ago I was in Stockholm along with ‘Play’ – originally installed at MOCA London in 2010. Pontus Pettersson had gotten in touch with me and asked if I was interested in showing Play at ‘The Cat Café’ – the second of his ‘Poeticians’ events and choreographic installations. (Pontus and I met when we were both project students at the Royal Institute of Art here.)
I was very pleased to be invited, especially as Pontus had only seen photographs of the piece. It was a real pleasure to work with him, and although I was a little apprehensive about how I would install the work without having visited the venue beforehand I was re-assured by his calmness and trusted that I/we would work out a suitable solution. Pontus and I decided where the piece should be and the installation turned out to be relatively simple. I was very pleased that Pontus was so involved in physically hanging it as it would have been difficult and probably dangerous to attempt it alone!
I had previously shown the piece at the Cultural Centre in Stockholm which required attaching the lengths of tape to two wooden batons rather than directly to the ceiling. This proved to be very convenient at The Cat Café as it enabled us to hang the two sections in different locations – one at the beginning of the café’s mini-golf course, and one at the end.
It was good to see the work in another context and to see how Pontus’ cat performers (they weren’t really cats but were very very cat like!) played with it. Two of the cats are organisers of a dance/performance evening at the same venue and they asked if I could leave Play up for their Sunday Run_up event on the following day! Fantastic – a second and quite unexpected opportunity.
Posting a couple of pictures on Instagram resulted not only in a good number of ‘likes’ but also being asked to send details of the piece to an artist/curator who is (now) going to propose it for a group show in Norway! What a great reminder of how important it is to get my work out there!
And last but by no means least, I want say a big thank you to a-n and Stephen Palmer for my week as featured artist blogger on a-n’s Instagram feed. I received a great deal of positive feedback and am pleased to be back in touch with some other bloggers who I had lost contact with! Thank you!