My piece for the Clifford Chance show is all packed up and almost ready to go. I have bought a couple of small hooks and want to spray them white but it is not easy buying spray paint here. Which in itself is interesting, however it is even more interesting to me as I live in the flat directly above a man who has just written a book about Stockholm’s zero tolerance strategy towards graffiti. So if I see him this evening I will ask if the strategy includes making it virtually impossible to buy spray paint.
My six-month term of subletting is almost at an end and I have been talking with Alex about what to do. It is a tricky situation. According to the studio’s rules Alex does not have the option to sublet for more than one year (which she has already done) however her university course is not yet finished, and as soon as it is she wants to have her own studio back. We have talked about sharing the studio when she comes back (which is relatively easy to arrange). Of course the rules about subletting can be changed however it requires a meeting of the management board and although it is only the end of May people are already starting to take holidays. We hope to work something out which suits everyone. I am quite pleased to learn that the board has time limits on sublets (as many housing associations here do too) as it stops people becoming kinds of private (absentee) landlords. Is it perverse to appreciate a system even if it does not work in my favour?
Next week I take the final SFI (basic Swedish language course) test. If I pass then it means that I can choose to take a more advanced course, if I do not pass then I can take the test again in August. I really hope that I pass, it has been great to have all this tuition for free (for which I thank the Swedish tax payer) however it feels like time to get on with being in the studio and finding some part-time work. Some of my school friends have said that if they do not find work that they will continue studying half a day throughout the week and part of me thinks that I should do the same. However I do have a job – being an artist – and studying every morning from 8.00-12.00 is not good for my studio practice. I need to remember that even if I do not make money from my practice it is still my work.
I want to get on with my work.
I need to get on with my work!!
I have just finished the visible side of the piece for this year’s Pride show at Clifford Chance. It is not exactly how I first imagined it would look – it is much simpler. I need to secure all the loose threads of the reverse side before I send it to London however I can now take the photograph that will appear in the catalogue.
This year there will be two openings for the exhibition – unfortunately I am only able to attend one. I feel bad about this as I made a promise to myself that I would not miss my openings after doing so a couple of times a few years ago. I have already booked flights to go to the first opening, which due to the large number of artists showing and the number of corporate guests, I can only invite one guest to. A few weeks after this opening will be another event for the all the artist’s guests and this is the one I cannot attend – first there is the cost and second it occurs during my parents’ visit (to me here in Stockholm). There is also an artists’ talk that I cannot attend.
My attempts to find some documentation of the course content of my degree have come to nothing. It is truly amazing that such an influential, unique and ground-breaking course can just disappear without a trace. The former tutor who moved to Falmouth with the college recognised my difficulty and offered to write something – I hope that he does not have to and that the authorities here are satisfied with my account of the course and the online article written by the former head of department. The experience of trying to find course documents has given me a lot to think about …
1, the scale and pace of change in British higher education, particularly in terms of what has happened to ‘art schools’.
2, the importance of documentation!
3, how old I am.
I have also been thinking about friends of mine from Dartington who do not already have M.A.s – what position would they be in if they wanted to do an M.A. here and could not prove that the B.A. they have is genuine?
The Friday before last I went to a talk by Briony Fer (University College London) at Moderna Museet. I have heard her speak before while I was at the Slade and used to go to the art theory lecture series but I am out of practice of listening to serious academics. Sitting there amongst a predominantly Swedish speaking audience, who seemed fully able to follow the very complex text, made me very (VERY) aware of just how much work I have to do in terms of learning Swedish so that I can really participate in the art world here.
I attended the Slade at the same time as a very brilliant student who has been a well respected writer and editor for many years now, he commented once that no art theory lecture was complete without the phrase “always already” being employed. I smiled to myself as Briony uttered those words as she concluded her argument ….