Back in London …
Today I sent the landlords my notice on the studio. I’ve also started to sort out what I want to keep and what I can throw out or re-cycle. This afternoon I recycled two big Ikea bags worth of art theory – and it felt GREAT! When I say art theory I mean photocopies of articles and chapters that I read for my MA – over 12 years ago, I can’t remember ever reading them again – though the titles were still familiar. Why was I hanging on to it? I realise that I must have moved it around London quite a lot between studio and home moves.
I also greatly reduced the amount of paperwork I’d kept from previous shows. I had folders full of correspondence and notes regarding performances made in art centres and with groups that don’t exist any more. How many copies of a programme or flier should one keep?
Which led me to wonder if I should put images of very old work on my website or not. It’s been interesting for me to see what I was making ten or 15 years ago, and I can see a connection with what I made on the residency. But do I want it on the website? Perhaps it is worth putting up some images. So long as I stick to the reverse chronological order it would only be people who are really interested who would ‘find’ them, and, they would be there if I wanted to direct someone to them.
One of things I noticed about the work I made in Sweden was the connection to work I made before John got ill. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that there is much more similarity between the art I’ve made either side of John’s illness. The plates and cake tins from Sweden feel closer to the chairs, traffic cones and hot water bottles of older work.
Looking at what materials I had in the studio, after three months away, I realise that I had quite a few things that refer (directly) to John’s illness; the urine bottles, syringes for liquid food, plastic aprons and latex gloves as well as things that I ‘dumped’ at the studio when I had to clear his house; a blanket chest, large cushions from the day-bed, crockery, towels, a set of wire drawers. It feels like the right time to put away the urine bottle work and even the pieces I made from his shirts. It feels like time to get rid of unused materials that remind me of how awful things became.
John isn’t ‘in’ those things, and the John I want to remember certainly isn’t! So it is with much relief that I’m getting rid of things that are too much part of that time. John had an amazing lust for life, and in my own way I feel as though I’m regaining mine …