I’m off to aspex next week to take part in their Working Title exhibition. It’s a great idea for a show:

“Selected artists will use items collected in a rag and bone style to create new, interesting and beautiful artwork in aspex’s main gallery space. The space will function as both workshop and exhibition space… Visitors will be able to access the gallery, observe and talk to the artists while they transform cast-offs into new creations or incorporate them into performances.”

I’ve been thinking about different ways I can approach this project and I’ve had inspiration from an unlikely source:

“In our quest to create the Pandrogyne, both Genesis (P Orridge, ex of Throbbing Gristle) and Lady Jaye (Breyer, his partner, RIP 2007) have agreed to use various modern medical techniques to try and look as much like each other as possible. We are required, over and over again by our process of literally cutting-up our bodies, to create a third, conceptually more precise body, to let go of a lifetime’s attachment to the physical logo that we visualize automatically as “I” in our internal dialogue with the SELF.” 1

… and …

‘”We view Breyer P-Orridge as a separate person who is both of us,” Lady Jaye explained. “Neither of us take credit for the work, the work is a melding of both of our ideas which we would not have had singly. Both of us are in all of our art. That third being, Breyer P-Orridge, is always present.”’ 2

And with these thoughts in mind, I make my way to Portsmouth…

1 Pandrogeny – An Attitude Discussed by Breyer P Orridge
2 Quoted by Pierre Perrone in his obituary of Lady Jaye


What’s the best way to come up with ideas? I can happily let them mull in my mind’s saucepan till they feel right and then let them get buffeted about by the world – this is often a slow process; but there’s also pleasure in coming up with ideas collaboratively – this is a much faster process because thoughts revealed PING! off each other and a giddying sense of racing to some sort of ideas-finish-line takes over. Either way, it’s the world’s influence on the idea, rather than the idea’s influence on the world that interests me.

This week I heard about a Japanese inventor called Yoshiro Nakamatsu, who claims that by diving under water and waiting till his brain is almost starved of oxygen, he is able to access brilliant ideas in the resulting “0.5 seconds before death”. Apparently, he has invented an underwater writing pad on which to jot these nuggets down whilst they are fresh in his (presumably gasping) brain. Nakamatsu suggests that really good ideas can only come from being alone in this way (I suppose you can’t get much more “alone” than being so close to death).

Whether or not it’s true, this is a fascinating and hilariously bonkers method, but I don’t think I’ll be giving it a go! Not just for fear of drowning, but also because I think this “technique” feeds on a peculiarly romantic view about where ideas come from. It would be wonderful to think that ideas come uniquely from the self, but, as far as I can tell, engaging with the world outside is how it all really happens … perhaps for Nakamatsu it’s the forced contrast of being alone within a crowded world which focuses his mind, or perhaps he believes in the myth of the lone genius, which is a shame, as it negates the influence of all those around him.


Tenneson and Dale’s new piece is starting to take shape. It’s called Canvassing and making it is causing eye ache, so heaven only knows what it will do to the viewer…

Extract from the Canvassing Manifesto:

The horizontal stripes will revive Agnes Martin’s piece ‘Untitled No.4’ (1983)

The pixels will revive Anne Truitt’s piece ‘Knight’s Heritage’ (1963)

The works are determined by their environment
The environment is the institution
The institution is the framework
The framework is bureaucratic
The bureaucracy inspires the works
The bureaucracy places the order
The bureaucracy orders the work

We do not make the order, the order is imposed on us


Summary of last night’s collaboration meeting with Iain Andrews:

Abstract Acrylics Ceiling Cuts Draping Environment Flayed Hands History Joins Left Masters Melting Movement Outline Plinths Right Rolled Scale Sea Sewing Sinew Skin Slimy Terminator Titian


Elena Thomas recently posed a good question on one of my posts:

Part of my current practice is in collaboration with a musician-singer-songwriter, but I am beginning to question whether it is truly collaboration or if it is a working side-by-side: does this count as collaborative?

This is something I have wondered myself when working with practitioners outside the field of visual art, but even then, look at my current collaboration with Iain Andrews – he’s an artist, but he’s a painter and I haven’t painted since the last century… What does count as collaborative?…

Perhaps the crux of collaboration lies in the generation of ideas between participants, which in turn may (or may not) influence the working method. Looking over my own previous experience, this seems to be the case. I have not previously worked with a singer-songwriter as you have Elena, but I have worked with a composer. In that instance, we did not share the physical labour as it were – I created the visuals and she composed the music – BUT we were working to the same themes, mood and overall plan that had been mutually agreed. We fed back to each other the whole way through the process, we worked towards the same goal. There would have been little to gain for her in learning to work with paper and what would have been the point of me trying to learn composition, when she was the expert? As far as I can tell, successful collaboration unifies existing strengths, in order to bring about work that no participant could have or would have created on their own.