Taking down ‘The Gifts’ the other week was disoncertingly swift and easy (granted there were six of us..Benoit thankfully returned and the apprentices were on board, very focused).
After the long haul of making the work and the labour intensive process of hanging it all, it felt like, a few snips and it’s all over. Which is probably healthy, but there was an air of melancholy leading up to it, mainly in Julia and me, the principle midwives of this particular creation..
When work disappears like that, when it’s initial life is over, it really does feel like it was a dream..
It’s all in boxes in my studio now and i am trying to rest for a while, focus on slower time at home, recharging until the next project begins. I still have photos to edit for my website update, film footage to look at and lots of information to add into the installation notes that accompany the work for the next time it goes up, whenever that may be. I am also considering what kind of work i want to make for the Flow Gallery show – smaller wrapped pieces, i have some ideas and Yvonna who runs the gallery came to the show so we are in dialogue. I am sure I had more to say than this and am going to write up an evaluation of some kind on how it all went..
I have another project starting next month which will most probably breed another blog. I have found this such a crucial space both for documenting the process of the work and getting focused on what’s at the centre of what i am doing and also what needs to follow.
I had one last echo of my mother after the show came down. I have made friends with Shafan, the Iranian staff member who has been working in the gallery a lot during the show (often by request). She and her husband are the only Iranians in Bristol from the same part of Iran as my mother (they speak the Turkish dialect she used to speak). She invited me to have dinner and stay at her house on Monday. i was exhausted but it was such a tender invitation and so well timed. As i ate her delicious food and listened to farsi on the tv and talked with her, I sensed my mother vicariously taking delight in this creative episode of my life which brought me so much and which will take quite a long time to unravel..
I had a rather bad accident the other day and burned the inside length of my left arm. I have been on painkillers and in need of rest so been looking for quiet inspiration and also reflecting on this project as it approaches its final week…
I was thinking of Janine Antoni, an American artist who I met in 2006 – myself and 11 other artists did a one week performance lab with her and Melissa Martin called Lore + Other Convergences at LADA/INIVA in London.
It was an intense learning experience which brought up a lot around collaboration, object-related perfomance and process as product.. I remember Janine was very encouraging of the idea of The Gifts, which I had already shown the seed of with a piece I did for Limbo Arts in 2004 as part of a group show called ‘Abandon’ and it was her that pointed me to the ‘Power and Taboo’ show at the British Museum at that time, where i discovered the wrapping rituals of the Pacific Islands divinity culture that helped develop my thinking around this project.
Discovering Antoni’s work at that time was quite a revelation to me (I was new to the live arts scene and had not heard of her, much to the other artist’s surprise…) as there were many common points in what she had been doing with great renown and success) and the path i was only beginning. she also seemed to have a lot of integrity around her approach to the commercial side of the artworld and some solid ideas about how to navigate it while retaining her strength and freedom to make the work that interested her.
I found this interview with her again called ‘Framing Sculpture’ which I really like and which I wanted to share here, especially ideas around relationship to the object and the role of the viewer…
If you don’t know her work she is really worth a look and has a lot of gently thought provoking things to say. And it always feels good to acknowledge one’s influences and inspirations…
Aside from this, as if in response to my earlier thoughts around the targeted exposure of our work to curators, Shape and the museum have organized a Curator’s Day on Tuesday. I am using it to hone down how i present the essentials of my practice (since the presentation will be brief) and also to prepare thoughts for myself around where my practice might go next as I feel a crossroads approaching – more on this later…