We officially finished the Cockfight project today; Jon took his stuff home and we hung out in the studio talking about what we’d do next. Naz spent the day playing with cardboard, making huge colourful freaks. Starting tomorrow we’re doing a collage project: just hanging out in the space collaging whatever we find until the 14th April when we open the doors and invite you all in to see “Stick ’em up” – well, that is a working title… At the same time, I’ll be curating screenings of films made on collage / mash-up / remix principles. I’m selecting the films now.
It’s good that a number of our local neighbours came, over the past 2 weeks. Art has to be part of its environs.
We’ve had a good response to THE COCKFIGHT and so we’ve decided to keep the work up for another week, so more people can see it.
We’ve taken a few more and better pictures too.
Jon is still working in the studio so by the weekend there might even be something new.
Nazir’s started doing some work with the Petrie Museum. It’s a fascinating museum of Egyptology – mostly stuff from everyday life. Watch this space – we think something really interesting’s gonna come out of this!
But in a week’s time the studio will transform again and become a collage studio. We’re going to just sit here for a week or two and collage anything that comes our way, and then open the doorsd. I’m also compiling a programme of moving image collage: remix and mash up video art and films (some mine, some by others) for at least one screening. I went to see the magnificant John Stezaker show at the Whitechapel last week – ok that’s something to aspire to! Stick, stick, stick.
And Andrea’s got her project underway now. It’s going to be realy exciting: a series of monthly screenings called FLAT SCREENS; films that address the isue of housing in all kinds of quirky and fascinating ways. Why housing? Well, Studio 75 was once a studio flat, and it’s part of a whole block of flats – many still inhabited. It’s the perfect subject for us to explore.
IN THE STUDIO
We were in the studio yesterday and we were saying how we want people to come by our open days to see the works that we’re putting out, and we don’t want people to act like they are in a gallery: you know, coming in all quiet, walking about with hands behind their backs and then going out. And for our part we’re not going to act like we are a gallery: sitting there, sour face stuck in a laptop, laconic and uninterested “hi” to the people who come, then studiously ignore them. We don’t even bring laptops (we do have some pens and paper). No, we got the chairs out and sat there, brought the dog, made cups of tea and hopefully gave a warm welcome to whomever popped in. And what we wanted, happened: people stayed, and talked, and we met some really interesting people and hopefully some new things will come out of these meetings and more people will hear about what we are doing and come by …
I don’t know why the galleries, especially the little ones here in Hackney, do like to affect the crabby and “I’m too important to talk to you” stance. I can only assume it helps sales (!) although it sure doesn’t encourage me to buy anything. I’m always reminded of that Harry Enfield sketch of the guy running the “Posh Crap” shop or whatever it is.
Anyway, what they do has nothing to do with us, we’re not about selling, really – at least that is not our purpose (though if people want to buy they can). We’re all about working, and developing our work, and meeting people, and making things happen.
THE COCKFIGHT is up, and I think it was a fight, at any rate Comerford and Tanbouli appear to be exhausted. From Sunday to the early hours of Thursday morning they not only drew and coloured vast sheets of paper hung on the wals, they opened the space to the public Thursday night, cool as cucumbers.
The results of the “experiment” are profound. They both broke through some barriers. Jonathan hadn’t done any large scale work like this in years, not really since he came to the UK from South Africa. He’s normally a printmaker: neat, precise, sharp, contained. Now he has reinterpreted his iconic shapes in a more splashed out, angry way. Passion comes with size and challenge. [http://www.hardgroundprintmakers.com]
And Nazir’s been drawing the Egyptian Revolution since last summer – before there was any inkling of it happening. (see http://nazirtanbouli.wordpress.com/2010/07/04/working-every-day/) How could he have known? He’s not exactly a political activist. He lives in the studio! He’s been drawing it in his sketchbooks for months now. But he wasn’t sure what do with the drawings. Then the Cockfight was the breakthrough. He said that putting himself through the brutality of such an intense challenging marathon in the studio allowed him to catch the spirit: “If they could stay there in the Square for weeks, I could certainly stay in the studio for days”.
THE COCKFIGHT is in the studio till about March 26, so if you’re in London pop by or email the studio and let us know you’re coming.
Nazir and Jonathan have been working literally 24 hour shifts at the studio. Jon arrives in the morning and works; Naz and he do the afternoon shift together then Jon goes home and Naz does the night shift. If it was a factory they’d be making triple time, but it’s not a factory and the only thing pushing them is not a gallery, or a collector or even the exhibition – it’s our space so we can do what we want including cancelling it if we like – nope, what’s driving them to punish themselves in this way is just the sheer love of drawing and also their head to head bloodymindedness.
Nobody is allowed in there till Thursday night. This is being strictly enforced, even to friends bearing cakes. Only Sandy, Naz’s dog, is allowed in, to keep him company on the night shift.
But I’ve seen a sneak preview on the phone camera of some of the work and I have to say even on a 1.5 inch screen it’s absolutely astounding. I can’t wait till Thurs, can’t wait for THE COCKFIGHT!