show space

lots of conversations w tutors about how to present work in the show space. I am now at the moving things about/ taking them out and putting them back in stage.

I am thinking about what I want this work to say. There seem to be a few groups of thinking within the work- some more figurative, some more formal, and I am thinking about which way to present at this stage. I have a couple of pieces which I really like now, and want to include. They are shown below.

The ‘See’ of white wires makes me smile, I want it to stay.

The hanging echo of the cables is fun too, and I hope that stays too. It makes me think of the ‘fuck you’ attitude we are encouraged to bring to the show- the sense that we are making the show for our work and ourselves, not tryint to present something which other people will like per se.

The wall piece seems to have tied the vertical spaces together, and the insersion of the A4 copper piece helps me to remember where I am coming from on this. I am looking forward to getting the phone blanks on the wall to see how the shiny surfaces talk to each other.

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This fatter roll was made impromptu, and does not feel resolved enough to be included. It is a similar diameter to the recycled felt on the floor, the the relationship seems to explicit.

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I call the white wires See, as a grammatical pun really. They flow, and seem a bit sneaky, yet are laid bare, which I like.





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This work containing the white wires never fails to get a reaction, so am working with it. Addition of coloured tape was an error. Ongoing.


These in themselves are working together, but the presence of the hanging piece changes how they sit on the floor, making it seem too crowded.

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The green/purple/felt tank piece from the Morgue show just doesnt seem right here.

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I have made A1 prints of these macro shots and mounted them on aluminium. They are just not fitting with the space at the moment.

Robert Morris


Robert Morris has come up in a couple of recent tutorials, since I brought my studio work into college for projects and to prepare for the MA show. In particular, some work I imade curling salvaged copper pipes prompted a friend to show me an image of some work Morris made involving curled copper pipes and felt. I was standing on some recycled felt when I saw it. Yikes.
The felt Morris uses is similar to that used by Beuys. It is beautiful, and Morris seems to choose it for its weight, it’s light absorbtion, and for me it has a movement to it which contrasts well with his lead metal.
I think that when he curled those pipes he was thinking of giving them lightness and movement, just like the fibres of his felt. What was I thinking when I did mine?

Mine were curled by the force of the electricity running through my brain, my thinking and my arms as I adjusted to the new working space in college. They were given movement too, which I could hardly contain, as if they wanted to fly out of the window. Babak’s summation of the psychological elements of my work back I may proved accurate.
For me. The relationship between the materials is what dictates them. I have written before about the tang of the metal against the choking dryness of the felt. The well used, recycled, salvaged qualities talk of their previous incarnations and suggest the next.
There is always that familiar twang of terror when you see that someone ‘already made your work’, but I think it must be a sign of me gaining a bit of my own momentum that I can now recognise that what your work is now is built on all the foundations laid by all work that went before- and some of it which is happening now too. Our take on things are always different, and actually the differences help me to clarify what it is I am interested in.

Where Morris thinks about gravity, light and space, I am thinking about conduits and the human traces in materials. I do really like the physical scale and installation of his work in space, and the demands on the viewer as they move around it. I think that is something I would like to look at in my work at some point too.

Robert Morris
One of my tests for my show configuration

Workings out

Have submitted this for inclusion in the Chelsea MA show catalogue, and need to re-read to stay focused on what it is we are trying to do here:

‘My work is concerned with the physicality of exchanges between people, objects and material.
In particular I investigate the hidden infrastructure of the interaction between these things.

These are temporal interventions in the unceasing cycle of production and consumption’

So, with the experience of working once more in the college studios,I’m finding my workings exposed. I have got quite used to making all my mistakes in the safety of my own studio which I share with friends. Only the work which survives the initial culls makes it out to the light of day, and even that is not guarantee of its survival. So here, trying things out, colleagues, tutors and god know who else who walks round here (and there always seem to be people) can see my experiments.

Also have moved out of my normal work space for the first time since the project in the Morgue. That resulted in lots of constrained forms which the body could relate to. Moving into a larger more open space has expanded my way of looking at the work, which has been freeing and confusing. As things have spread out, I am reminded of the criteria on which the show is assessed: editing. Our ability to spot what we are working on which is working, and putting the rest to one side.
The incarnations so far have by degrees followed the layout of the electric wires and living visible above the space, which has actually seemed to flatten the work out. Nothing was moving. Today the prospect of moving spaces has opened things up a bit which is actually really interesting. I have started playing with materials and clumps again.

taking the works from the morgue show and just transplanting the into this space changed them somehow, and seemed to short circuit the conversation between the wires. Adding the found bamboos might be a material too far, although the alignment between them and the wires is interesting.


Allowing the arrangement of the objects, or works, to be dictated by the electrics mounted on the ceiling above, things quickly got locked in.


So. Take it all out and start again.
To be trying to make new work at this stage, so close to the show seems madness, but something happens when you move into a new space. Surrounded by other new works from other artists, you can’t help but feed off all that is going on. In one way having so long to ‘build’ the show is really hard, in the same way that too much choice in life hard. Thinking about it differently, seeing it as just my studio, where I happen to be working for now, some things seem to emerge from that.

Copper postcards

Can’t believe I haven’t blogged these before. As one is about to make it’s way into the Chelsea College special collection, I think I should gather them into one post.

I think the work is still going on, as they are continuing to discolour. They are also leading to other works, like my A4 sheets.

They feel very intimate. They are held in private collection internationally. (read: I have posted them to friends as far away as NZ)

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This is the collection progressive images posted over one week for the exhibitionin Brisbane, Australia which started this off. The final is the actual postcard.

Ian Kiaer- Endless house- thought models for dwelling

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Ian Kiaer makes work about making work. He makes paintings which directly respond to Malevich’s black square as the death of painting. He makes sculptures and installations which evoke the poises of non-making versus the praxis of making. Thinking space is offered in abundance.
In a humble and unassuming manner he presented his career path, with works also becoming progressively less prescriptive. This quiet humility is contradicted by his ascent to international recognition, with works invited for the Istanbul biennial among others.
What I found really interesting, especially in light of having recently received assessment feedback on my essay, was how driven Kiaer is by his love of critical art history. Relevant contextual engagement is essential to offer your work as contribution to current critical debate, but Kiaers passionate exploration of early 20th century and late 19th century artists and philosophers really grounds his work in a strong foundation which adds volume and form to his ‘tentative’ practice.

Andrew Grassie, paint club talk 17/07/13

Graduated RCA at time of YBAs but resisted pressure to subscribe to ‘brand’

Paradox of setting rules of expressing himself despite not being able to express himself. (due to all the rules: copies of his own work, sometimes in others styles)

Developed into UFO pics, in which his paintings were the UFOs, paintings of the space, including his paintings of the space. Both looking at it, then later of the rest of the show from the perspective of his painting.

Then collected 60s/ 70s show catalogues and remained some installation shots. Changing our experience of the work, which the catalogues did anyway. Documentation. Usually the space between the lens and the pic is to be ignored in a catalogue, and his paintings further look at that space.

Worked with gallery in Vyner St and London based artists to borrow work, photograph it, return it, and in the end collage the works to present a proposed show full of established artist names, all big collectors and curators came, led to good ops for both!

This led to a show in the new art room at Tate, and international shows. Latest work paintings of art storage rooms and crates.

Ref. Q&A recorded online after Vancouver show.

Paints in tempera. Gives a very fly surface. Slightly masochistic as its so hard to work with, dries v quickly. But need to get into right frame of mind to begin working, crack the eggs.
His paintings are depopulated. No distraction or sense of being observed when looking at the work.
Has long held thought of a shed snakeskin, a lifeless facsimile of the actual thing. He aims to muffle the thing, to add a layer. As he decided he is a painter, years ago, there is always the question of what to do with that within the history of painting.
The paintings are ‘quieter’ than the actual photographs he now works from. He alters the photos, straightens verticals, etc, as lens based images are ‘too noisy’ with stuff going on. This muffles them. They may not be ‘correct’ visually, but it makes them quieter.
Ref. Simon Starling? In particular hi current installation in the Duveen Galleries at Tate. In stark contrast with the ‘quiet’ approach, as Starling has installed a huge projection with a very physical soundtrack. Starling also presents an anthology of artworks which were there individually, but are no longer, and some are even now destroyed. He did a show on a similar pretext at the Camden Art Centre. Grassie contrived his own show/ curation of objects, which were selected as they were curatorialy so disparate.


Body pressure at the Hamburger Bahnhöf Berlin

Presented in the stunning central atrium of this former railway station, this sculpture retrospective covered work from the 1960s to the present day.
With a superstar cast, selected works were looking at the body and our place in the world. This came across conceptually rather than chronologically, and for me started with Fischli/Weiss’s piece showing a simplistic representation of the male and female forms.
Paul MacCarthys parody of Koon’s parody of Michael Jackson and Bubbles dominated the first half of the space with its commentary on celebrity culture, celebrity artists, production and the grotesque distortion of reality.
Gradually we were implicated into the work itself, with John McCracken pointing out our place within the artworks, and Franz Erhard Walther inviting us into being the artwork. Further dematerialisations came via Nam June Paik giving us reflection on our ego’s place in things, aided and abetted by technology, and Nauman providing us with a printed set of instructions on how to make the work ourselves, using only our bodies, and leaving no trace but in our minds. The instructions remain however.
Taking us to our natural conclusion and inevitable place in the natural order was Tino Segal. The artist who not only works without trace but seems to live without trace, he is not listed in the catalogue. His contracts are only ever verbally agreed, and the work is presented by others. The sung piece This Is Propaganda rung out in the space at regular intervals, sung beautifully by an artist dressed in regular museum uniform. She blended perfectly with the other staff until she began to sing a simple beautiful melody, before announcing the title and artist. The echoes of the tune remained briefly until she blended back into the regular environment. The recent murder of a soldier by religious extremists in yeah UK make the lyrics “This is propaganda. Heroes. Heroes.” more prescient than ever. This makes me value the other staff more too, and suggests democracy, equality, and the irony that in the end we are all to return to dust.
Even writing this about the work seems to be changing it already.


Zeit_Wert_Zeit, (Time, Worth, Time) Museum Der Dinge, Berlin 28/29 June 2013

Hosted in the Museum Der Dinge (Museum of Objects), Berlin. The 2 day event brought together economists, artists and educators to discuss their work investigating Time and Value.
In our current industrialised lives our body clocks are aligned to the beat of the machine, and even our lifespans can be measured in terms of financial liabilities. What does this measurement depend on, what is the scale we are measured by, how did this come to be, and what impact does it have on our creative practice and understanding of our current age?
Speakers and artists presented, and the setting further enhanced the experience: To reach the symposium we walked among the cabinets and exhibits of the museum, like time travellers through the 20th centuries’ design evolution.

Having been invited to attend this symposium in Berlin, I got the opportunity not only to attend the talks, but to talk to individuals there. Berlin and London are obviously very different cities. Time seems to flow at different speeds in different locations anyway. Contrasting two capitals, and the experiences of two sets of residents added another dimension to thinking about time. Value and values vary from place to place too. The way time is spent, adhered to. Things start on time, time is made for coffee and cake, time is made to visit exhibitions, time is wasted waiting for buses (or is it well spent in conversation?)

There follow posts on my notes from the various presentations which were in English and German, so pardon any translation errors:

Dr. Andreas Bödecker, banker and professor.
Time Is Money
Talked about historical exchange and value of labour beyond financial. When all labour was regarded as equal (ancient south American civilisations) was everyone happy whether. Baker, medic or cleaner? I more recent history more dangerous jobs were paid more. Now value is judged on how much wealth you can generate.

This was one perspective, which was challenged, or rather alternatives were explored during the following days presentations. Marina Landia’s work is directly related to this I think.

Konstantin Adamopoulos Economics and philosophy.
Heads up the Bromburg Scholarship project in Köln. Produces workshop sessions with Marina Landia bringing together artists and post grad economists for meetings, cognitive exchange questioning economic and creative thinking.
Talked about the ‘time is money’ presentation by Bödecker, suggesting it prevents an oversimplified view of money. Adamopoulos asks ‘why does no one want to be a cleaner?’. It is the egos role in this which is problematic, and his program further examines this.
‘Sinns und Geld regelt die Welt’ (knowledge and money rule the world, quote from Bödecker yesterday) is too simplified. What of the human role, autonomy, the unknown and strange?
If Bödecker talked about belief and law (the church) ruling, then the renaissance introduced personal choice. We must make our own story.
There are many steps between, including the war between individuals (egos). The ‘nature made me superior’ explanation.
John Locke wrote of his birth, which came about early due to his mother suffering extreme shock at the Spanish Armada attack ‘My birth was twins. Myself and Fear’ [translation tricky. Is this perhaps an example of a linear/literal reaction to a trauma] . An artistic response to feelings of confusion and alienation during that period, the renaissance, was to begin to place towns and forests in the middle and far ground, as strange, ‘I am not in it’.
In the post grad ‘Bromburg’ program the economists are interested in the personal views and opinions of the artists, rather than expecting them to answer for the whole demographic!
Referenced writings from Stich(?) and Kräftig Kunst (?)
This practice facilitates Lathams Incidental Person theory, and being placed within an educational institutional context sows the seeds for positive future development.

Marina Landia The Art and Economy foundation
Marina Landias work engages with current affairs and their effect on the economy and art. She looks at all systems of culture and society from an auto poetic and inner logical based point of view. This is complex- society depends on all systems functioning properly.
(Lehrmans) theory proposes that problems arise because these systems are often closed to each other. But they do reach their limits, moments where consensus cannot be reached internally, so they spill over out of necessity and touch other systems
E.g. The economic culture may may sense witthin that system, but may haves negative impact on other systems (e.g. politics/art)
Latham proposes the Incidental Person who is able to transcend systems. Lehrmans proposes that this is the role of the artist.
Can this active penetration into other systems can even influence decision makers?
Marina Landia’s work involves interviewing economic leaders, penetrating the system to see what is inside. Quotes from some of these films included “Money is the goal”, and “It’s all about the return”.
These people work within financial capitalism, credit capitalism. It’s a volatile system. In dealing with the time/money relationship the fact is that currency fluctuates, time does not.
Within the economic system, unhappiness seems to come from no knowing how to change the speed of work and workload.
Despite the impartial stance taken by Landia, the bleak reality in these films is unavoidable. There is a uniformity to the phrasing and the emotional involvement of the subjects, and very little passion. Occasionally they seem to be struggling to believe their own pronouncement, but mostly they appear to acting in the way which is expected of them. I tried to imagine how I wold feel about the works if I was still working in that world. Would I be bemused by the fact that these statements were out of the ordinary to the rest of the world? Would I be inspired? Or is it impossible for me to imagine this now, as I have crossed over into a different system in my chosen path as an artist.

In the Bromburg workshops, Marina Landia and Konstantinos Adamopoulos bring their two groups together and set goals for discussion. The sessions begin with the chaotic formation of groups within each other, then 5 mins silent/ non verbal communication.
Then, using collage they create displays looking at what interests them personally, what makes a successfully economy/ world. How to balance risk vs. desire.
Risks are acceptable if discussed and agreed on, but there are always personalities which are more risk averse or risk happy. A big discord is that todays risk takers are less often affected by negative outcomes.
The create games. Looking at choices and paths through life as a game helps to see what your priorities and goals are. Are the rules already set or can they change? E.g. By starting with using a dice you are already subscribing to something. There is always space for interpretation- can this space be filled with ethics?
We all have the ability to change these decisions.
The way these workshops are structured is admittedly in the style of economics, eg spokespeople for the groups etc. They try and find neutral ground to avoid too much hierarchy. The aim is that they all leave with a positive impression of the experience.
One thing that is emerging is that both parties deal with uncertainty.
‘Earning money, for economists, is all about resources for uncertain outcomes. Nothing is known or certain.
Ref. book: Time Parodox. private vs. public. ‘Happiness is achieving in all your roles and aspirations’

David Cross. How much time do we have?
David Cross presented a new work comprising a film exactly 29 minutes and 59 seconds long. To shoot it he rented a professional camera for a fee which worked out to be more per hour than his own labour, which was a chilling reminder from the off, of societies’ hierarchy of possessions and objects, technology versus human.
The camera could only shoot films that length, as a second longer would qualify it as a ‘video’ camera and it would fall into a different tax bracket. These minute bureaucratic adjustments have real financial implications.
The film was shot from the observation deck of London’s new ‘sundial’, the Shard building. It is shown in real time- from this height few moving details are visible bar the riverboats going about their daily routines. The clouds shift, and the narrative David Cross presented follows the sunshine as it moves across the cityscape, following the route of the Thames.
Cross reminded us the the screen is not a window, it is opaque, and referenced Brecht’s writings which discussed that ‘a photo of a factory shows us nothing of the social relations of production.’
He went on to talk about how scientific findings are subject to such a rigorous peer review and publication process, that by the time they are released to the policy makers they are outdated and can be dangerously misleading. This is particularly pertinent when dealing with climate change. Especially where all stories are constructed to represent the interests of one party.
‘We live in a ‘special time’ where change rampages. This vision of London’s abundance is also a portrait of excess’
The metropolis of the city reached out to the Thames estuary, a glimpse of space and possibly of nature beyond the constructed mass. The history of the buildings, both genuine and presumed in architectural terms, documents the institutions and constitutions which govern the capital, and therefore us. They are so set it seems almost impossible to question them, which is one of the points David Cross is making. This inaction is short sited. It has only one logical conclusion if played out according to the current rules of engagement . Growth is not sustainable. Metals, minerals, ice, all resources will eventually run out. Time is running out. Inaction is suicide.

Michael Fehr. the Museum as time Machine.
Michael Fehr introduced his involvement with the Museum Der Dinge, and specifically the current exhibition, which was heavily inspired by HG Wells book The Time Machine. In this exhibition ,curated by Alexis Hyman Wolff, objects from the archives have been selected and presented within brackets of representation of time. These include nostalgia, memory, measuring, marking and recording time. Despite the extensive collection, which begins in the 1920s, the most current additions to the collection allow it to successfully avoid nostalgia. The implications however, are inescpabale: for each of these preserved objects, countless more have been discarded. Produced and trashed. Burned for energy or left in landfill for someone else to worry about.

Steven Grainger. Equity Release Scheme.
Steven Graingers current project involves his Will. As a participant, you are required to offer something of your choice in exchange for the sole rights to his Estate for the 15 minutes following the signing of his Will.
To help with the decision of what to offer, Grainger has calculated his worth for us, based on weighing up his financial assets and liabilities (current account, student loan and life insurance policy)
The grey area is his non financial value, this is not universal. It is based solely on the unique relationship between the valuer and the person being valued. This proposes the equation that time spent with someone = direct correlation with value. How can this ever be calculated?
Steven Graingers work questions the economic model of valuation, and successfully straddles economic, artistic and emotional systems, making him the archetypal Incidental Person John Latham proposed.
The absurdity of this intimate legal relationship proposed between relative strangers led rather too easily to speculation on whether it would be ‘worth it’ to murder him, and the influence on his worth of the potentially expanding collection of objects or artworks that the exchange might yield.
After seeing his presentation, having spent time with him, he then became ‘of value’ to us, and whether we sign the will at some stage or not, we are all now implicated as part of his estate. As are you, the reader. This is such an limitless proposition. This is art living on and growing in our minds, and makes me think of the works of Nauman and Beuys among others.

Karl Thorburgsson. Apples in Iceland: a new way out
Karl Thorburgsson dressed in a suit and gave us a presentation, pitching a business proposition. The irony and humour in the presentation was really engaging after a day of challenging wider issues of climate change and politics/society. His quest to become Icelands first apple farmer was poignant, as the current climate there does not support their growth. The underlying pathos was brought home by his final appeal that we all get involved in the campaign to help his project, all he needs is a one degree rise in temperature. And all we have to do is nothing, just like we are already.

Peter Alasztics. Intertechnika
Peter Alasztics family industry of laser cutting gives him first hand experience of the leaps made in technology and engineering in his lifetime (he can only be in his 20s)
His hypothesis that as the machines have evolved, their capacity for cutting has increased whilst their footprints have decreased. The machines get smaller but their hearts get stronger. He delivered this news in a very partisan way, leaving us to draw our own conclusions. The logical suggestion seems to be that the machines evolve, their hearts become more powerful, might this lead to autonomy? They can cut a much wider range of materials and thicknesses since they first appeared in the Alasztics factory, might these capabilities one day be turned on us and chop us to matchstick, or etch their wills onto our surfaces?




Creekside Open 2013 curated by Ceri Hand at APT

The second of this years Creekside Open presentations feels extremely coherent as a show, which stands out in the sense of open submission shows often presenting a summation rather than a curation of an idea. I declare a vested interest as my own work is included in the show this year, but I was delighted at how it was shown.
Ceri Hand has talked about her approach to the space, thinking of it in 3 broad areas as you move from one to the other. This is evident even before you are made aware of that.
The alternative title of the exhibition could be from Ground to Ghost as the hand of humans is traced through industrialisation and digitalisation through the effects on us and the world.


Pádraig Timoney at Raven Row

This solo show is accompanied by an interesting piece of writing by Alexandro Rabottini, which discusses the varied and diverse styles Timoney uses, and references broader political interpretations of his decision to reject working in a unified format. You can’t even limit it to a genre, because within each genre different approaches are used. It take two turns to tune into this, to start to see the whole among all the different elements.
The work is mainly 2D, with sculptural explorations outweighed by paintings, collages, photography and drawings. There is much gesture here, seemingly skimming over the thoughts and ideas, yet in this universal approach, a style inevitably emerges. The style of insisting on looking at the world from as many angles as possible, continuously.
The result is actually pleasingly coherent, but for me did result in the individual works melding into one larger proposal, that of enquiry.