POSH, anthropomorphic wires?

Yes, long before Victoria Beckham sashayed her way into our consciousness as Posh Spice, I had a tyrannical headmaster who terrified and taught us stuff in almost equal measures.

One of the lessons which stuck with me (along with speed-reciting of the 9 times table for fear of being combusted by the Times Table Dragon) was his understanding of the origins of the word posh; Port out, starboard home, which was how the better-off colonialists sailed out to India and the Empire, back when that seemed like a good idea. That way you travelled on the shady side of the ship, out of the blazing afternoon sun – the port side (left if you’re on the ship) heading south, and the starboard side (right hand side on the ship) when you head back north.

I have been thinking about global trade of goods as I made the work for Nothing Endures But Change, which is part of the Waterloo Festival. The colours I have used and the orientation of the work reflect that mythical description of the word: I think a lot about the trade in power and privilege which dictates where all the stuff we buy is manufactured by lower-wage workers. This ongoing exploitation/natural flow of capitalism and industrialisation (depending on your politics I suppose) (and how guilty I wake up feeling that day) seemed to be relevant in the context of class and status, and the questionable title of posh which some are labelled with.

Then when I looked into the name further, it seems the origin is more interesting, stemming from the street term for money which was used by criminal gangs in the 19th century. This feels a bit like reclaiming the word, it being used as slang for wealth, rather than as a sort of put-down. The fact that the myth about the ships headed for Asia has proliferated almost reinforces the system of class and entitlement which the underworld operated (operates) apart from. So that’s a fortuitous reference to start with.

Then, in the making, to cheer myself up (and ease the guilt I felt as I considered what had been shipped where on the pallets I’ve used) I made all the wires point up. Is it possible to have cheerful, optimistic wires??

I hope you can join me on the 6th for a walk round the sculpture garden, I’ll see you there at St John’s Churchyard, 73 Waterloo Road, SE1 8TY from 6 pm.

@2_by_3 with Alia Pathan and Bex Massey

We decided to organise ourself as 2 by 3 as a structure within which we could explore similar interests in sculpture, objects and presentation. This resulted in our first show Death of Intention which explores the roles of objects and space in how we experience and interpret the world written about by Walter Benjamin.

The fluid process of producing this show resulted in a open and new installation which feels autonomous and optimistic. The time to curate and install together has given it the feel of a residency- an event which is often characterised by noticing the luxury of being able to prioritise and focus on your practice, slightly removed from the demands and distractions of daily life. Over the course of four days we had two days to initially install our proposed work, and the remaining time allows for experimentation and exploration along the themes proposed by Benjamin, around the themes of barriers, obstacles, agency and negotiating space.

IMG_5487 IMG_5490

Alia Pathan works predominantly in time-based media, presenting thoughtful digital film and media installations which explore the deapths of human experience and connection. For Death of Intention she has thought about the deliberate construction of an apparatus we can use to experience her media work. Materials and construction are common themes in all the work presented in the space, and this work Peter, Pixel & I, uses carefully manufactured structures and objects to invite us to move around the work, explore as much as we dare. I can avoid looking at a film of a medical procedure if I stand to one side, choosing to be selective in how I look at it, mimicking the official policy towards the market in such procedures during the soviet era which informed this work. In thinking about the official ‘blind eye’ which was turned to the doctors and ship which worked in international waters, the artist has also produced a silk flag which simultaneously interrupts the space and provides a backdrop to the films. The luxurious surface invites me in as much as the printed design of eye operations repels me.

In the next space the heavy contrast of cast iron sits on the back wall, spelling out the image of a cat in raised characters which could be read blind. The Cyrillic ‘shhhh’ form in the Center, once I’d had it translated for me, suggests the silent complicity of the operation of duel systems.

IMG_5491 IMG_5496 IMG_5510

Bex Massey is skilled painter of photorealistic images, who has always considered modes of display beyond the sole canvas. In the past she has used leaking daylight, objects as props, and juxtapositions with mass produced materials to support her paintings. For Death of Intention she has not dispensed with paint altogether, but here it has taken  a supporting role, used to highlight physical elements which allow for the themes to prevail. The combination of crafted objects with organic elements gives the work the same slightly precarious sense seen in earlier  works.

The main space holds two pieces, ‘Seasonal sculptures’ number one still employs abstract canvases, balanced one on the other here,  as a backdrop to a cast object. The painted reproduction of a pineapple is topped with a regular a top sliced from the fruit. The pineapple is colour and pattern- matched to the canvas, whilst the colour of the pineapple top is reflected in the section of artificial turf which supports all parts. This limited palette ties the selected objects together, somehow making sense of the variety. The slender vertical presentation gives a poetic sweep to the assembly.

Seasonal sculpture number 2 consists of a junior school chair supporting a slice of watermelon. The chair has been restored and repainted in white on one side, fluoro pink on the other. The pink is reflected in the flesh of the watermelon which has been remade whilst still presented in a piece of cut peel. The organic elements in these Seasonal Sculpture series lend a sense of tension and termporality, making me want to cherish the looking while I can, before they topple or rot away. The simple bright colour on the child’s chair lends an element of playfulness to the work, which is tempered for me by the faux offering of the fruit.

The sense of dashed hope of nourishment continues in the next room, where chips are referred to by potted yellow flowers. They are potted in McDonald’s fries pots, supported on a crafted shelf against a slash of red and yellow on the wall. The movement of the first piece is here, and the simple palette too.  These sculptures are a departure for the artist, yet the unmistakable lineage is plain to see, which I find really interesting. How this happens and what we do with it is one of the questions we asked of ourselves in creating this show.

Drawing work and ideas out of the usual métier into something more 3D, sculptural, interactive, invites a different experience from the viewer, just as it is a new way of thinking and working for the artist.

IMG_5471 IMG_5508

Personally, the work I presented seems to be stretching my practice from both ends: the multiples which make up AQI (air quality index) are bookended by a working circuit of power cable with exposed bulbs and contacts in one direction, and by gestural canvases in the other. The circuit is one of the most quiet, distilled works I have shown. It’s fascinating watching how it is interpreted, as I try and gauge if it is pared back enough, or too much… The concept seems to be communicating itself, with the audience spontaneously approaching and activating the work. The cooperation and interaction required to complete the circuit is a new explicit element, whilst the execution of the basic materials themselves keeps the focus on the object/materials themselves.

The oil and wax paintings are physical interpretations of some of the imagery I collected during my residency in Beijing last September with Red Mansion. The abundant stimulation and input of all senses which I experienced will continue to feed my work, but in flattening it into two dimensions, I am distancing myself from what was an intense physical and emotional period, and this allows me to better process it objectively.


Red Mansion 2015 Beijing residency: 5

P1150221 P1150122 P1140782 P1150224

Cables featured heavily in my experience in Beijing. Disconnected, surplus, ignored, given a place but not a use, there’s no doubt I was anthropomorphising rather. There is also little doubt they will feature in my work in the coming months. Already new connections have been created in my studio, new ways of presenting.

P1150323 P1150319 P1150310 IMG_2940 IMG_2934
The wind monitors I could see on the tangled electric pole outside my hotel window were a (dusty) splash of colour against the foliage, and their shape echoed the insulation domes holding the wires. Finding them at the immense building supply market was a real treat, a part of the mechanics of the place that I can own. Alongside this is the large, smelly collection of cables I have been collecting on my wanderings. These, along with the smaller fragments which feature in my journal, are precious: despite the dust and grime of the huge city, Beijing is pretty spotless; everything has a scrap value, if you collect enough of it. The well-documented sight of a diminutive figure struggling under the weight of a gargantuan bag of paper or plastic is familiar even in central Beijing. The recycling and scrap yard of Fenjaicun on the outskirts of (but still technically central) Beijing.
Copper wires we’re obviously rarely overlooked, and often all I found were the plastic casings, the metal already on its way to it’s next incarnation. But everyday I did find something, not always copper, but metallic. And some days I struck lucky, and the smelly bag of filthy cables took it’s rightful place next to the wind monitors and junction box in my suitcase home.
The process involved in checking the case in is worthy of another blog all of its own….

Michael Asher “art often carries further across time than space.”

While showing at the Graduate show at Chelsea last month, I had a really interesting conversation about the materiality and installation of my work with the unfailingly generous David Cross, who recommended I looked at the work of Michael Asher.

The photo above is a newpaper reference to an ongoing project in Munich which ran from the 1970’s until 2007 when the caravan was stolen. As it moved around the city it occupies spaces, safe in the parameters of an ‘art project’, but each time it moved it’s location was swallowed by another vehicle or even building works. I read that he was delighted when it did get stolen, and said “art often carries further across time than space.”

Such is the nature of Asher’s practice that it is actually impossible to look at any of his actual work, and I never will, now he has passed away. All that remains are informal records and references to the projects: Part of his method was the stipulation that the locations of his interventions be returned to the state they were in before he worked there. He did not consider accompanying  documentation, catalogues, etc as artworks.

It reminded me of the work of Tino Segal which I saw at the Hamburger Bahnhöff in Berlin. A performer filled the space with song periodically, but we were able to chat to her in between performances- she explained how the artist fought not to be included in the catalogue, maintains no online presence ( a feat these days), and even refuses to sign a contract- all is done verbally. This audacious confidence in one’s own existence really stayed with me. By that I mean, I have in recent years considered my art to validate my existence- it gives me a motive and a physical proof that I am still here. If that were to evaporate, would I still exist?

With the Asher no longer living it adds a poignancy to the way I see his art, and makes me immediately consider how I see the artwork as artifact. This first came up during my residency at Grey Area last year: After I had found and arranged all the wires and cables according to what was in the space, I then formed them into a bundle- the discussion brought up whether this was a commercial decision, which shocked me as I hadn’t thought of it that way. The presentation was so ingrained in my thinking, I hadn’t questioned it. Which is why it was so good to face it.


With all the hype and expectations surrounding the graduate show, my thoughts ineveitable turned to the future, and how I would sustain my practice. The fable of the magic patron who might appear raises other issues such as authorship, autonomy and the heartbreak of parting with works I had actually fallen in love with over the months. All really interesting.
This possiblity, the sly expectation objectifies all works in the space.

My stubborn faith in the hanging work and the liberal use of the readymade felt must have been my subconsious shouting to step outside of the neat object presentation. I hope so anyway.

cadi froehlich MA show

Michael Asher

Michael Asher 1943–2012: Parting Words and Unfinished Work | e-flux.

Beuys, a quick polish, and me

The alchemy and vision of Joseph Beuys is alive and kicking in my show. 18 hours and counting of being lucky enough to talk to all sorts of people about my work, and some themes are emerging. It’s a bit like one giant tutorial, but the confidence I have in the work is a relief actually, after the frenetic energy of the build which sometimes made me feel a bit confused. My choice of what I am showing is confirmed too, as the general thinking around commodity, exchange and communicating comes across. But for some, the foundations Beuys laid for me are insurmountable. Funny how keen they are to tell me this, but all feedback is appreciated- it just goes to help my thinking to clarify about where I have taken my practice to.
As the work is discussed, and in the case of the bronzes handled, it sits quietly, absorbing it all, taking on new marks. It was these marks which concerned one visitor so much he got out his hanky, breathed on one of the bronzes and started to polish it for me. All part of how they are treated, it was certainly a unique response!
I am looking forward to the next four days, thought they will be loooooong. Need to remember to take breaks, or I’ll be no use to anyone who comes by as I garble my words due to lack of food or caffeine or both.
The volume of visitors really is impressive, and I feel really proud to be able to spend so much time with work I am falling more in love with (if I may be so bold about my own creations). I’ll actually be sorry to see some of it go. Which can only be a good thing I know. But the emotions of the experience are intense, bittersweet. It makes me excited to get back to making the next works, and finding the next place to show and the next chance to engage with how it communicates with other people. 20130909-111959.jpg


My ‘work and future vision’

As presented in the recent symposium, my practice over the last 2 years and ambitions for the future look like this:


-in at the deep end.

-ridiculous, lamentable atropy

-series of happy accidents which come about whilst I am playing around with general stuff

-select stuff on basis of availability, practicality (will it fit in studio?! like Silke Detmers said about logs and cars), hate waste, this could be endless, so limiting it to one or 2 materials has helped practically as well as conceptually.

-ideas of physicality of communication


-exchange exhibition, distance, lack of presence

-technology to organise, post to execute

-value of copper, stolen, marks of handling by people and machines

-to be included in Chelsea Library collection

-set up ongoing modal of working within a group, not necessarily collaborating but supporting and exchanging


-excited that is integrated into creative thinking and practice here.

-scientists and artists together addressing issues

-mark fisher talk on capitalist consumerism

Berlin, show and publication in autumn


-selected for Cape Farewell London expedition.

-waterways, canals, tidal barrier and submerged rivers.

-role of river in transport, sanitation, commerce and sustenance

-effects of man, volumes of humanity.


-overwhelmed by scale experienced on expedition, brought it back to one person

-specific amount of water contained.

-hidden infrastructure exposed


Feb 2012, Triangle space


One Human 40l

-commodification of drinking water, follows on from commodity value of copper



-Grey area, leftovers and basic provisions

-re-use water, use cables found in cupboard

-reflection of wires and pipes visible

-tidying brought up issues of value of artifact as well as materials


-pipes bent to allow them to contain water freestanding

-futility, humour, integrity


Had no tools at Joya residency in Spain.

-rain happy accident, as was colour of foliage


landscape specific, water only became important when there having no showers. started out liking form,

-really thinking about how and where work installed and shown


U6 Residency at WYE Berlin. Reading Jean Fisher metaphysics of shit following from Dokumenta,

-environmental art by Song Dong Doing Nothing Garden

-no tools. drawings/ wires were there/everywhere


-Sharing a working space, normally separate

-alone together




drawings and representations of things which aren’t really things

CadiFroehlichSymposium2.017 CadiFroehlichSymposium2.018

first thinking about multiples



-self supporting


-perceived obstacle, anthropomorphic,

-detracts from individual status as artifact good/bad?


-influence by Graham Hudsons Works in Progress


-jaws journal. tactile encounter with the material


-salvage value vs commercial value, labour and machining

-continuing to think about setting for my work


-reduced to object of conductivity

-unintentional relic


-oblique reference, abstract of object

CadiFroehlichSymposium2.030 CadiFroehlichSymposium2.031

-cast better, more detail highlights flaws.

-too crafted? less touch better?

trying to cover up



-slower piece. colour, form, physicality


-step away from didactic making. trusting roots of thinking


-raw, exposing thinking



-eva rothschild, mike nelson


-chance to make something big, turned into lots of normal sized things


-investigation into space, materials and textures





‘The input received and the relationships forged over the last 2 years will sustain me for the foreseeable future. I am looking forward to taking time now to really sit with my work and get to know it again. I have not made enough time to just be with my work this year, so the space left by no longer attending college weekly will be happily filled with that.

I know I will have a long and productive career as an artist, and if I can support myself through that with a combination of selling my work and teaching I will be extremely happy.’


Breathe/ no breathe

I don’t think I have ever had this many pieces of my own work in one space before. It is larger than my studio, but crammed with works all clammering for my attention. It feels like a cross between chairing a rowdy meeting, and supervising a birthday party. Everyone is valid and valued and interesting, but some just don’t get on. Some form gangs against each other, and some just cannot resist having the last word.

I used to feel flustered and underprepared in both of the above scenarios when they went badly, but that moment where you make a great business proposal, or suggest a really great game, the crowd is on your side.

This is called curating.

When there are too many things it is confusing. They all talk at once, no one gets heard. Too few, and they risk becoming a bit lonely. Everyone likes someone to chat to, but who is secretly in who’s gang. The only way to find out is to clear them all out, and introduce them one by one. Sometimes one sits somewhere that really suits it, so they stay there, and others have to fit around them. Sometimes it goes really well until a row breaks out and you have to clear the space again.

It is a surprisingly physical experience- it makes you feel bad, squashed, confused and choked when it’s wrong. When it’s right it’s like you can breathe again, it’s exciting, and you feel great. Who knew curating was so visceral?

I have always proposed that the curator is a maker too- they can make shows out of the artwork the artists make. It is a skill.

A couple of minor observations:

Cadi Froehlich

Gasp. I’m choking..

Cadi Froehlich

Ahh.. that’s better.

Cadi Froehlich

The photo’s say Oi! Look over here!! The rest says meh.

Cadi Froehlich



Cadi Froehlich

It’s a riot!! clear the area…



They’re everywhere






One day this ongoing collection may morph into something useable, but until then I just keep taking the pics. There are wires everywhere, cavalierly laid, strewn and dangling. Considering the value of all that passes through them- lives, loves, work and fun, I am fascinated by how many are just there. Draped around, open to the world.

In other parts of the world they wouldn’t last a day like this. Indeed, theft is up here too, so how long before these are ‘relocated’. What calamaties might befall folks whilst service is interrupted?

They say a lot to me, these wires.


cadi froehlich work in progress

cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress cadi froehlich work in progress