Being asked to send a list of available works to Uppsala city’s public art department has reminded me that I need to re-think how I make things. Looking at my work I see that it functions as temporary installation – no surprise really as that it what most of it is made for, however it does not necessarily function well as public art. That is to say as artworks that could be placed in a public context: a school, hospital, library, or other public building for example. I think that I have noted this before and yet here I am again in the slightly awkward position of having to scramble around to see what, if anything, fits the bill.
This is one of those moments where I wish that I had a mentor, or rather I wish that I had had a mentor and that we had looked at how I might be better prepared and equipped for such a request.
The souvenir: if someone looks at one of my pieces made from second-hand clothes would they be interested in a photograph of it? Or are they interested in the materiality? I guess that in some cases a good one-to-one scale photograph of a piece would work. I immediately think about the Trophy series – the actual materiality of these pieces is perhaps secondary to the image that they present. Could the same be said for the Rest pieces? I am not sure. And even if it could, do I want to produce photographic works which are kind of souvenirs?
What if the photographic works are not souvenirs – do not reference other pieces, but are works in their own right? Could I be interested in producing photographs alongside installations? In theory this is not such a dumb idea … in practice though my photography skills are far from sufficient. It is an intriguing idea however … and in some ways it avoids the difficulties of me creating works which in themselves function more like props or set-dressing rather than as durable artworks. The installation/sculptural pieces would exist quite distinct from photographs of materials staged solely to be photographed. Thinking about this takes me back to my college work experience in the editorial department of World of Interiors. I created ’props’ for a particular editorial shoot where swatches and samples of fabrics were staged for photographing – so long as everything looked good in the photograph it did not matter how it was constructed it. Here I am thirty-two years later wondering if that kind of photo-shoot might now be appropriate for my practice!
It could be good fun to take a few photographs and see i) how they look, and ii) how I feel about them. I like the idea that one aspect of my practice is time consuming – the making of material objects, and another is more immediate – the photographing of arranged/staged materials.
I have had positive reactions to some previous photographs though at the time I did not know what to do with them – neither the reactions nor the actual photographs:
- photo of Play 2011
- photograph taken while dismantling Ljusfältet 2011
- photograph staged for Walk on the Wild Side publication 2014
Who knows the photographs might even appeal to those art associations looking to buy pieces for their members’ lotteries!
In other news …
I learnt that there will shortly be an open call for artists in Uppland for a site-specific coastal project. It sounds great, my only reservation and it is a major reservation is that one of the co-curators is someone who I decided that I did not want to work with again after a particularly bad (recent) experience. The other curator is Klas which is much more hopeful but only if he is actively involved in the entire process. The project has not been announced yet so when it is I shall read the information very very carefully before deciding whether to apply or not. I have to learn not to cut off my nose to spite my face.