Why talk about illness when talking about art and ideas is so much more interesting and comfortable? Because in the end a professional art-practice comprises of more than making the work – after all it needs to be exposed to other eyes and minds, preferably in exhibitions of quality; needs to enter in conversations with other pieces, in different contexts, be allowed to reveal new aspects. Have a social life! And all being well sell one day too.
The point of writing here, exactly here, as part of a-n talking, with its audience of artists and art professionals, is that, alongside introducing my art, I want to speak about how illness can place you and your work outside the art-loop. And try to find ways of addressing that.
It’s taken a bit of soul-searching. My first impulse is to be evasive about the extent of ‘my’ M.E., for all kinds of reasons, personal and professional:
• I hate the effects of being ill, how it slows me down so treacherously, curbs control and independence and makes my world smaller.
• I keep thinking improvement is just around the corner.
• I am worried that it will negatively affect, even dispel, offers of opportunities to exhibit my work.
• I don’t want to be labeled.
• I don’t want my art seen through its prism.
• I have times when I judge myself for being ill. (That’s not being helped by the prevailing complacent attitudes towards people with M.E.)
• And last year, which after all was a good one in terms of visibility of my art, here and abroad, I had hoped that my work would pull me bodily out into the world too. Didn’t.
It’s a fact: my work still travels better than I do!
And here is a small piece of mine: How near I had forgot was shown at Collectible, curated by Rosalind Davis and Annabel Tilley, which ended yesterday. Guess who was at the private view, beaming!
Materials: Crocheted from artificial hair
Dimensions: 16 cm x 12 cm