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I thought that I would feel emotional about leaving the studio in Enköping … but I didn’t, I guess that means that it was the right thing to do … and the right time to do it.

As I gathered together my past works some from as early as 2000 I realised that (sometimes) I make good art – I make stuff that changes how people see things … how they see materials, forms, and places. That in itself is enough. And it’s what I want to continue doing.

The amount of stuff that I now need to find space for at the studio in Uppsala is rather daunting … I am telling myself that it looks more than it is because it’s in packing boxes. This is true to an extent. It is also true that I have a tendency to collect and hoard … certain, but never sure exactly when, I will need to paint something that particular shade of blue again so best hang on to the spray cans from 2008 – does spray paint have a best before date, did it survive the journey to Sweden in 2011, did it survive the winter in that freezing damp half subterranean studio six years ago? I didn’t have time to test whether the paint was useable – quicker to just pack it and move it … I can test it later.

If only it were just those two cans of spray paint! It’s not! It’s all the other stuff too – the traces and remains of various processes and materials, the old artworks themselves, the tools specific to a particular installation … I can’t even remember why I needed a pair of suction handels (the kind for carrying/installing sheet glass or mirror). Will I ever make another installation that requires a small fountain? Will I ever do anything with all those 200 emergency blankets that were pegged out over Årstafältet – corners reinforced with silver gaffer tape and pierced by tent pegs.

I have promised myself to spend time in February working with this ’stuff’ … there is a further round of sorting that needs to be done and a fair amount to let go to be done. These tasks are both physical and mental – and I want to give time to doing them well. Last summer L and I were talking about personal mantras, the two that I contributed were: don’t get it right, get it done; and learn from the past, live in the present, believe in the future. It will be useful to bear these in mind when it comes to organising things in the studio. Definitely time to stop hanging on to the past, negating the present and fearing the future, and not getting done and not getting it right!

What do other artists do with the remnants of previous projects? E makes books from older or unsuccessful large drawings, K simply throws them out … didn’t Susan Hiller burn hers and then exhibit the ashes? Am I being foolish not re-using and repurposing more materials?  It would be interesting to hear from, and speak with, other artists who work with installations as well as those who make objects … to hear their thoughts and experiences.



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