A couple of snaps from a new piece of work imagineatively entitled 26 things it is an alpahabet of things.
Have also just finnished a portrait which is currently sitting on the piano, and which I am in love with.
It is funny how the process of making art is about pushing things over the edge. What I mean is that you are working on a piece and its not going so well – its ok but its not gorgeous, its not ravishing, trancending, sublime. You don’t just have the overpowering urge to just stand back, hand on hip, cup of coffee (cigarette if you still smoke) and think, fuck – this is a sexy bit of work, am I good or what? (a bit like that Chuck Close self portrait…)
Obviously you get wrapped up in anything you make and its easy to loose your perspective, but there is a very particular state that I think almost any artist will be able to recognise. A piece of work is hanging on the edge – its ok but you will never get that buzz, and it will never make the leap. You have to push the piece and in doing so you will either make it jump or destroy it. It’s often a very hard decision to make – by this stage you have (chances are) put a lot of work into it and you are often unwilling to take that chance.
When you to take the chance, and it doesn’t end in disaster, you know it was worth it.
Today I had a chill and seasonal (but not christmasy) warning. del.icio.us the web bookmarks / tagging website or application (depending on how you choose to describe it) has gone down due to some kind of power failure.
It is alarming to realise just how much I have come to rely on del.icio.us and I felt like a little finger pr something had gone missing.
It makes you think that no matter how handy the whole social aspect is – that in terms of just loosing my bookmarks – I should really sit down and setup a some kind of tag cloud bookmark type thingy on a server at work where it is more under my control – at least if one of our servers did go down I wouldn’t be worrying about my bookmarks.
This weekend we went to London and dropped in at the Tate Modern. H was very interested in seeing the Rachel Whiteread instalation in the turbine hall. Well don’t bother it was very poor indeed.
I had been hoping for a quite exciting bit of work as Rachel Whiteread can and does produce some stunning pieces of work (my last studio was covered in images of her work), unfortunately this was not one of them. It failed to engage with the space in any meaningful way, and was dwarfed by the space too. The sculptural forms created did absolutely nothing for me, each other or the space they occupied.
I think that in addition to obvious references to ice that the piece was making some kind of allusion to the warehouses where art is stored and occasionaly gets burnt in. Anyway having working in a couple of art storage places many years ago, I can say that she fails to catch the feeling. Its quite silly, what with all the work being packed in cases, but there is (at least to an artist) an almost palpable feeling of excitment in one of those places. Even without caring about whats in the boxes there is still a kind Indiana Jones, Raiders of the last Ark style excitment walking down narrow aisles with cases stacked many metres above you. She misses this entirely.
Whilst we were at the Tate something wonderous happened, quite unexpectedly (because I thought the picece was in Germany somewhere) I stumbled across ‘The Pack’ a Joseph Beuys sculpture / instalation that I never seen before in the flesh (so to speak).
‘The Pack’ is the piece of art that most inspired me to become the an artist and to make the kind of work that I do. When I was a little boy I used to sit and look at all the pictures in my dad’s art books and journals. One of these was ‘The Shock of the New’ by Robert Hughes – this was also a BBC documentary in the 80′s – so its not beyond the realms of possibility that I saw some of it too.
This photograph of a van with a pile of sledges tumbling out of it was off handedly slipped in between pictures of hundreds of paintings and even as a little kid you can tell that it is wierd and wonderful and exciting and dangerous. At that moment I knew in my heart that I would be satisfied spritually if I became a painter.
I missed the big Beuys retrospective at the Tate earlier this year (unforgiveable I know) and thought I had missed my chance to see it. So it was a truly happy moment when H pulled me through a maze of rooms and I saw the van. It’s just as exciting a piece of work in the flesh – more so for all the little details and it made my weekend. (What fabulous sledges, what glorious flash-lights, what lardy bits of lard…)
One thing that disapointed me was the crapness of the instalation, the Tate seem to have very erratic curation – sometimes it is inspired but just as often a dead badger at the side of the road could do better – too much work is just crammed in corners and squashed – the instalation in this case sucked.
I just read a post on Ben’s blog about a religious theme park near near Buenos Aires squidged between Aeroparque airport and waterworld called Tierra Santa – the Holy Land. http://www.worldgonemad.org/blog/2005/12/creation_crucif.html
Sounds fun, I wonder if Umberto Eco has wriiten a book about it yet, it would seem to be right up his street. It also reminds me of visting Art Galleries in La Paz, Bolivia – I belive it weas some kind of religious gallery possibly part of the cathedral. The gallery was full of wierd looking pictures of the Virgin Mary – the funny thing was they were all triangular.
It turns out that before the Spanish invaded Bolivia all of the mountains on the Altiplano (high plateau with most of Boliva on it stuck up in the Andes at about 4000m) around La Paz were venerated to greater or lesser degrees as gods (and when you get there you see why).
So when the Catholic bandwagon rolled into town and declared that Christianity was the way forward the mountains were metamorphasised into the Virgin Mary, hence all the strangely triangular virgins.
But now to my snack range
You could have a whole range of snacks called something like ‘Take, Eat’. Eat your heart out Pret… (and save your soul).
Thoughts for any other religious snacks – I bet you could buy a mean Bloody Mary – extra chilli please.