The week has not been at all I had had expected. Yesterday afternoon I received confirmation that I have had Covid since at least Tuesday. I started feeling unwell late on Monday morning – thankfully before heading off to the studio in Uppsala as I had planned. The news means that I have another three days of isolating at home, which conveniently takes me up to Tuesday when I start hands-on work with the children’s art project in Uppsala.
To be honest I have quite enjoyed being at home and not feel the pressure to get on with things … not having the energy or focus to get on with things if I am going to be completely honest. I had a couple of online meetings but it was not until yesterday that I was able to think clearly enough to put together and send out information about the show that opens next Saturday. ’Sending out information’ is a pretty accurate description of what I did – the neutrality, mundaneness, and monotone quality of that phrase captures the mood of letting people know that something is happening without actively inviting them to come along. Ambivalence is perhaps an appropriate word that goes some way to describe how I feel about the show – a show which is very very far from how I imagined it being whether I am referring to when it was first mentioned back in autumn 2018, or even as recently as December when I was planning a programme of workshops and events. It is not surprising that the show has gone through, in my head in any case, many iterations over the three years. Perhaps naively I was not expecting to have to make such last minute changes that the current pandemic situation and the return to previous Covid routines require. On Monday evening the Artists’ Club committee, of which I am a member, took the decision to halt activities other than opening the galleries (with severely restrictions on visitors numbers at any one time) and allowing the studio to be used for the children’s Saturday workshops (again with certain restrictions and following government guidelines for such programmes). This decision will be reviewed in a month which is exactly when my show closes.
Speaking with my artist friend K in the week we discussed how presenting live work to a great extent negates the requirement for a separate and distinct programme of events. Visitors are welcome to pull up a chair and chat with me while I am working (at a distance of course), there will be materials available if someone wants to make something themselves, and many of the references and inspirations for the work will be present. The atmosphere of the live work should encourage discussion between visitors as well as with me, and if it is possible to arrange a somewhat spontaneous event, be that a workshop or ’fika’, in February then I can always do that.
One thing that is clear to me is that I am not particularly keen on doing anything digital or online. What I am not so clear about is my motivation for this. It could well be that it is just too much to think about at the moment. It could equally be that it something digital might develop over the course of the work. One of the nice things about this live work is that the piece can, and will, evolve over the period. The structure for the work is both very flexible and very accommodating. The list of potential components continues to grow and despite my earlier reflection about feeling ambivalent, I am genuinely intrigued to see what happens over the twenty-three days. Is it possible to be generally ambivalent and specifically intrigued simultaneously?
Transformer: live work
22 January to 13 February
Galleri 1 Uppsala Artists’ Club, Uppsala Sweden
Wednesday to Friday 2 – 6pm
Saturday and Sunday 12noon – 4pm
Please note limited visitor numbers in the gallery at any one time, please be prepared to wait for admittance.