Graham Hudson started off by showing us work from 2006, and pointed out that this was 4 years after he left college. This cheered me up no end- sometimes when you are floundering or unconvinced by what you’re working on its useful to be reminded of the bigger picture. This is the long haul, and I’m looking forward to it. The curse of final piece syndrome is second only to the curse of fantasy studio syndrome in my mind. Both can be paralysing and depressing. Playing about with what you can get your hands on, wherever you can get your hands on it is always going to be ok.
Hudson’s work is varied in materials and approach; he consciously avoids categorisation. This is in part dictated by his decision not to be a maker per se, defined by him as ‘things having to be bang on or looking completely off.’ If something is wonky or shonky I want to know that it was intentional, and I want to think about why. Accidental shonky is just a waste of my time.
Hudsons work and practice can be challenging to authority, be it to the public, the art world or the spectator.
In the 2006 work Sajida Talfah in Holland park, Hudson was addressing issues of tyrany, politics and human suffering. It consists of an enthusiastically wrapped, packed and taped up structure atop a plinth formally occupied by a monument to Napoleon in a park founded by Lord Holland who supported him, and is named after a wife of Saddam Hussein. The structure evolved over the year to echo the seasons. It’s elevated position and ferocity of construction appeared to be overpowering. The ugly truth of of global political allegiances and oppression seemed represented by the impression that something was being confined or protected within all the tape. The spring incarnation featured an explosion of cardboard boxes, gaping open at us.
Following this work with a small scale studio work Paint Shelf, Hudson zoned in on the commentary of the gallery exhibition. The work takes 40 days to produce- considerably longer than it takes to et up the average show. It takes on a performative role.
Later works have involved roadworks and rubble, mapped and documented before they are displayed (Sedlijk, 2009 and Site Survey,2011)
These show an appreciation for the ‘ruptures’ that we encounter in city life, and documents of the ‘fast forward’ state of the city.
The contrast between working on residencies, away from his studio and the times spent in the studio serve among other things to remind Hudson that in his art his thinking and ideas are the constant running through his work, and you can take those anywhere.
His energetic approach to working sometimes come across as cavalier at times and why not?