Two weeks ago I went to Artists in Dialogue on the last day of Discernible. Popped into the open studios before, enjoyed talking to some of the artists there and in passing to a woman who told me about her grandmother teaching her knitting in front of a mirror, as she was left-handed. There was much to see, some gorgeous art, but Kate Murdoch’s studio-space gave me pleasure pure: a fairly well-ordered second-hand heaven, with towers of old cases and shelves and surfaces stacked with covetable stuff, beautifully, carefully set up, incl. spring posies for visitors to take away. All these objects are meaningful to Kate, heirlooms of a kind which become (part of) her work. I wanted to rummage around and make a quick getaway with some choice items – one of those hat-cases in blue or red, a doll’s bed… Normally I kind of rummage on-line, no comparison, although there is something in the moment of opening a package when it arrives. Over the last few months I’ve acquired a couple of vintage children’s outfits and shoes which I mean to turn into memory objects, amongst others a tiny tiny pair of scuffed brown mary-janes with round, almost polished-looking soles no longer than 10 cm…
For Artists in Dialogue I talked about Veteran’s girl and my interest in how children inherit memory, hold it for their parents. Loved listening to other artists presenting their work – those unexpected aspects, ideas, impulses certainly enhanced my perception. And Rosalind Davis gave a brief but tour-de-force perspective on the whole show, mapping it out like a dazzling panorama.
About a week later, with a hospital appointment behind me, I went under. If fatigue weights you down, holds you in place, pain hollows out, discards all but the loosest tether into the world. For a rather long while I seemed to shape-shift between a person-sized straw-puppet and a frazzled nervous system rattling in a carapace. Every bone poking, piercing, skin a lacework of fury. My skull made up of tectonic plates pushing, parting, pushing. Lost days. When the world expanded again the sensations remained strange, almost non-sensical: for a day the underside of my clavicles hurt so sharply, it took my breath away – as if I were hanging from a coat-stand, face pressed into layers of abandoned winter-coats.
When I come out from under I have to go through a kind of reverse metamorphosis and reacquaint myself with myself, physically, mentally. Pain and fatigue at their most severe cut you out and off, sever connections and any sense of continuity. So I’m weaving myself back into the world again. I’ve been at it for days now. Time to throw a kind of drawbridge to an afternoon two weeks ago, when for a couple of hours what I want to be and do briefly overlapped with what I am and can do.
Have a look at the gorgeous Discernible catalogue!