It was really different working with the arbitrary group of 9 out of the 20 on our course. After 18 months we have a rapport which covers our professional approaches to decision making, and the roles individuals tend to be drawn to when we take on new projects. The thing we all have in common is the work. We have all come so far and worked so hard to get here that we are able to make sure the work comes first. The difference with this show and the being only half the group was that we had the luxury of space. This meant we could show work in the place which was best for each piece of work: Often in a group show the main concern is how to fit all the work in most successfully. This gave the work space to breathe, and I think resulted in a show which looked considered and united.
I showed 2 works in the end, Access and Sentinel.
Access was made and adapted to the space once I had seen it. The opportunity to create an obstacle across the corridor ( an imagined blockage) was ideal. The wires all gathered around a power and data socket area, and immediately began to take on anthropomorphic qualities. I tried a couple of different layouts, and the space to do this in was brilliant.
The difference the lighting made was also really interesting, as the top lights really made the copper inside the wires glint, bringing it to the attention of the viewer. Watching people tiptoe through it all night was very interesting.
Scooping them all up at the end of the night seemed a bit disrespectful. It broke the illusion of considered placement and respectful treatment. It turned them back into merely wires rather than artworks. What is the difference?
What could have gone better or differently?
The wires are grouped mainly in fives, but there are a couple of fours and one three. This should be all the same or all varied otherwise they stand out.
I’d like to see how they look on a neutral ground. The green edge in the gallery actually worked really well against the coloured wires, but it would look different again on a continuous surface.
More numerous groups of one colour would look different too.
Someone who had even the larger piece at Machine For Living In at Hannah Barry last year said that it looked like that had shattered into all these smaller pieces, which seem more animated. Imagine if these grew to that size, that many of them would be really imposing. Then they would all shatter into a huge field of small ones and so on. This could be the beginning of a much longer project. This feels exciting, but daunting.
Making sculptures takes up a lot of space. My studio is not large, and as it is under threat at the moment, I am nervous about what I take on. The practical considerations of sourcing all the materials is another matter all together, and transportation too. After the last week of driving up and down to London by train and by car, running the gauntlet of a fatality on the line, replacement busses negotiated whilst carrying heavy objects, snow and train cancellations, motorway congestion and closures, I am really exhausted. I am giving this my all willingly, but every now and then I get The Fear. Can I keep this going? Physically emotionally and financially this is painful. How far should I push it? How far should any of this influence what I make and how I make it? Ignoring all of it and carrying on regardless is one option, which I will undoubtedly take, because that’s typically how I operate.
But is any of this belligerence in deliberate defiance of the Other Fear: Perfect Studio Syndrome? (the work I would really be making if only I had the perfect fantasy amount of time/space/money/all three) I don’t think it is- I conjure the memory of Louise
Bourgeois and her standing pieces at times like this. She made tall thin arrangements out of scraps she collected in her neighbourhood when she lived in New York. She worked on her roof where the the view was of tall thin buildings. I also imagine Eva Hesse on her kitchen table mixing bowls of latex and tubes. ( Though admittedly most images of her work were shot in a large looking studio)
The threat of losing my studio has prompted a flurry of ambitious larger scale plans, in a now or never sort of mentality. The tutorial last week was also really helpful. Like a rocket up the arse. But uncomfortable, but gets you there much quicker than you would have otherwise been.
The next six months have been so many years in the coming, they deserve to get lavished with the most energy I can possibly manage. Managing the balance between the course, the making, and my other commitments is much more challenging.
Sentinel was not as successful as access regarding placement, though I was really happy that the supports I had made worked so well. It was stable and elegant. These were not properties it possessed last week. The danger element needs to be part of it, though ideally no one will actually get squashed. I think having them above us on the platform might have reduced the impact you get when you stand alongside them. There was also no risk here of having your ankle or eye snagged on one of the wires. I do want it to have a presence though, and it certainly had that. I am going to work on how they relate to each other and threaten us a little more. This will do for the interim show, although I have other plans for work for that- it just depends on the people of Brighton deciding to replace their hot water tanks over the next couple of weeks, and I have not control over that. Of course I could search farther afield…..