Mark Wilsher’ One Night Biographical Retrospectve.
We had a warm and intriguing evening on Saturday accompanying Mark on a tour around the Project Space as he discussed life and artwork and areas in-between. More of a journey really from Melody Maker 1990 to visualising and constructing Kant. The crowd was lively but not dangerous and food and wine was consumed afterwards as the Project Space was transformed into a candle-lit bistro. The Belling worked well and the electricity didn’t blow. I call that a good evening.
Vulgar Errors residency in progress
At the moment there are two things that I am starting to think about that possibly relate to Browne, or for which his work might bring an interesting perspective.
1) I might compare how Browne thought of people with how we think of people today (job units). I am initially struck by Browne’s sense of people as inherently infirm and, characteristic of the time he was writing, that this is derived from a relationship to God. As I read more I am interested to see the relationship between religion and reason in his work. Does his reasoning support or complicate a religious view of the world? Today is an economic view is presented as the logical, reasoned view? I am also struck by how, in the first couple of chapters, Browne highlights and discredits some errors through looking at the language of scripture. I wonder whether exploring how he close-reads language will help me with how I use the articles I am collecting.
2) I have been thinking about my process of artistic research and how, if it was measured by the criteria of scientific or social scientific research, it would be bad research. I am being fairly arbitrary in choosing to read newspapers between now and May, simply because that’s the time I have available. I am also mostly reading the newspapers that are available in my local library and sometimes I miss a day or just miss a relevant article because I don’t notice it. Besides, I am deciding what is a relevant article as I go along!
The techniques that I imagine that I might use in my work of quoting or editing bits of text from newspaper articles and bits of text from Browne and juxtaposing them in different ways, will suffer the problems of erroneous suggestion and inaccuracy that I would be critical of in newspaper reporting. But I will be using them in a poetic or metaphorical way, rather than the ‘factual’ way newspapers do. So I don’t know where it’s heading but I guess I am interested in exploring the difference between things that may be taken as fact or used as metaphor.
Last week Hugh also sent me a copy of a book he wrote with Simon Briscoe called Panicology, so I have been reading this. I was interested in the intro to ‘Panicology’ how they write that “Numbers are the ‘fact’ generator in today’s society.” There are sections in the book on ‘The Workplace’ (No Work or Low Pay) and ‘Migrant Invasion’ which are relevant to my theme.
Our next event is Mark Wilsher’s ‘One Night Biographical Retrospective” exhibition / talk / tour and it sounds stimulating and absorbing. Mark says:
“I want to talk about how various experiences I’ve had over the years have led me to get interested in issues of the audience, publicness and now the social sphere. Also how personal circumstances like family and health can effect what you do as an artist. So I would mix together some artworks from the last 10 years or so, plus documents, books and other ephemera.
“My plan is, instead of sitting talking to an audience in front of a projection, to do a standing, walking around the gallery type of talk where the audience can have a good look at the works, flick through books, read leaflets etc while I talk. I hope that this will make the whole process come alive, and people can really engage with the creative processes I have been working through.”
Mark Wilsher has exhibited at the Henry Moore Institute, the ICA, Chelsea Space, Outpost and at EAST International. He also writes regularly for Art Monthly magazine and has worked as a curator at various public spaces in London. This talk will be illustrated with a one-night biographical retrospective exhibition.
Saturday 20 April 7.00pm onwards
JOIN THE ARTIST AND QUEEN OF HUNGARY FOR VEGETARIAN STUDIO SUPPER / £5.00 per person TALK ONLY: DONATIONS £3.00 / BOOKING from [email protected]
Stephanie will be cooking, for those who stay behind, a vat of mix-up veggie curry in the studio on the Belling hob-top (normally used for instant noodles and more poisonous concotions).
Vulgar Errors residency in progress
My starting point for the residency at the Queen of Hungary project space (where I will be resident for a week in May) is to read Thomas Browne’s book ‘Pseudodoxia Epidemica’ or ‘Vulgar Errors’ alongside collecting contemporary news headlines and political rhetoric about work; exploring how work is foregrounded as the primary way to value people today. People are – to quote a suggestion from Hugh Aldersley-Williams – seen as ‘job units.’ I am thinking of this as being a contemporary ‘vulgar error’ and considering whether Browne has any tools to help dispel this.
In the build up to the residency I am conversing with Hugh via e-mail and posting the content/research I gather on my blog: http://www.ameliacrouch.com/news/vulgar-errors
I initially found reading Browne’s book quite hard. His language is sometimes difficult to understand…but I am starting to get used to it. Hugh suggested that I first read some of his chapters on animals, and it turned out to be a good tip. A lot of them are very funny! My favourite beliefs thus far, that Browne dispels, are that Swans sing more sweetly before their deaths, Peacocks are ashamed of their legs and that Storks are to be found, and will only live in Republics or free States.
Browne appeals, in different instances, to Authority, Sense, Reason and Experience to disprove – or at least query – the beliefs. In most cases he has more than one argument against the belief. For example he cannot totally disprove swans singing more sweetly before death but reasons that himself and other quoted authors have never heard a swan making a pleasant noise. Also he suggests that the shape of their wind-pipe provides no reason why it should be true.
“When therefore we consider the dissention of Authors, the falsity of relations, the indisposition of the Organs, and the immusical note of all we ever beheld or heard of; if generally taken and comprehending all Swans, or of all places, we cannot assent thereto.” (Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, Book III, Chapter XXVII)
I feel like I have really only just begun the process and so far am collecting newspaper articles and reading Brown in parallel. I am not worrying too much yet about how Browne relates to the contemporary content that I am collecting. Time will tell how the two will influence or inform one another.
The deadline for submitting artwork for our Landscape Show in September is nearly here – so this is the last chance to apply. Details are on our website:
We are really looking forward to getting down to the serious task of choosing and shaping the show with our guest curators.