Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Turning the blue dragons

This past week has been a good one. I have been working solidly for the last couple of days on all things Folkestone which have surprisingly worked well. Today I should complete the work and then move on to the idea of everything worthy of 'treasure' for the next chapter at Asylum in Peckham at the end of September http://asylum-arts.co.uk/history/ while I am on a Monte roll.

This week I also hope to start to work on my final ideas for Dr Johnsons House. I have spoken at length to Hallie Rubenhold, the writer for this third leg of the project and I am just waiting to see her last draft to attach symbolic gestures to the pieces I am thinking of making. http://www.drjohnsonshouse.org/events.htm

This past week I have also made a piece for A la Ronde for The National Trust to use in a poster and I am waiting to see the outcome when it is complete.

I have a received a couple of really exciting emails this week too regarding new developments of my work, which must for now, remain secret, but all will be revealed over the next few weeks when they come to fruition.

Lets hope this week carries on like the last one as I have superstitiously turned the blue dragons in anticipation. Don't ask.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Silly Sailor

I am currently making a body of work for Folkestone Triennial for the next chapter of The Count of Monte Cristo titled 'The Unknown'. I am currently making both 2D and 3D objects for this show that will be placed in the window of the B & B Project Space in Folkestone, as well as a sound piece and maybe even a short film. Here is the link to the blog http://gogowhippet.com/wordpress/bandb/

Adopting the guise of 'The Silly Sailor' the work is loosely based around the history of Lady Mary Killigrew who hailed from Suffolk, moved to Cornwall, was brought up as a boy, was confused by her own sexuality, cussed like a man and had a penchant for bare knuckled fighting. The Urban dictionary references the term 'The Silly Sailor' as 'A man who performs sexual acts and has a talent for interior decorating' and so the fusion will continue.

There will be nods to piracy, unidentified texts, sailors valentines and mystical adventures.

Expect to find digitally manipulated images, flamboyant household objects, symbolic references to sacred geometry and a map to hunt for everything golden.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Dear Mr Ruskin

Last week was spent travelling and installing the next leg of (Now that would be) Telling at Brantwood House in Cumbria, John Ruskin's final home and eventual resting place. With Catherine's broken ankle and Lucinda's later sharp exit from the London riots, I was nervous that I would be left on my own to curate, talk and describe the work but with Lucinda's decision to flee with extra possessions to the house, I was somewhat relieved that she had kept her word to be there.

After a smooth instal, the eventual opening was well attended and supported by many generous and lovely people, keen to have the work explained in detail and yet curious enough to really explore the works with their hidden symbolism embedded from within the Lucinda's writing and 'The Ethics of the Dust' by Ruskin himself.

The works have been enjoyable to make, branching out from portraiture into making drawn objects from key text and I am planning to take these ideas further.

We were fortunate enough to be allowed to stay in Ruskin's private apartment hidden behind doors marked PRIVATE for three nights and four days. I took a dear friend with me for companionship on the long six hour drive up there as well as reassurance in terms of staying in what was possibly the haunted part of the house.

I volunteered to sleep in Ruskin's bedroom where he had many and eventually the last breakdown of his mental health out of politeness and curiosity rather than bravery and fearlessness. I had previously been told that after what he believed to be his worst breakdown, even Ruskin refused to go back into this room for fear of what that room contained, so in order to deal with this situation, I asked little more.

I spent the first night lying very still as I had identified a motion sensor in the corner above the door and as my bed was opposing a mirrored wardrobe, I could see my reflection of wariness and it wasn't helping my imaginings. Eventually after a brief altercation on my part (only close friends know of my behaviour that night), I eventually drifted into sleep having decided to turn my back on the side of the room where I had known his bed to be.

After a brief sleep of about four hours, I woke and then this pattern remained for the rest of the stay with short sleep periods followed by adrenalin surges of enthusiasm and imagined conversations with the great man himself. I have been tired ever since.

On the last day of the stay I was conscious that Catherine had ordered me to take photographs of our accommodation, the audience and the works in context, so I grabbed the camera and set to work on the accommodation and works in situ. The audience part had been tricky as we were multi tasking, but some were managed nevertheless.

It wasn't until my return when I was showing my partner the photographs of the visit that I discovered one, very bleached out image among the many photographs that I had taken of Ruskin's bedroom that I stayed in. It is not explained, as due to my incompetence with photographic processes I had my digital SLR set on auto throughout.

And so, I show you two photographs to ponder. One is the bleached original version and one is the same image darkened, in an attempt to see what was going on in that room at the time.

In other news, the project may or may not be selected to be reviewed on radio. We have been asked our whereabouts for next week as to our availability for Front Row, it will be AMAZING if that happened, but still great if we don't, at least to have been considered is very flattering.

Work for Pulp Fictions at Transition gallery has been delivered and a draft written piece for A La Ronde has been received, all of which is very exciting. The author for Dr Johnson's House is working flat out and I am to start work on this as soon as I have made work for Folkestone triennial and works for the show at Asylum. My ideas are coming through for the Roam project as are new drawing pieces for an ongoing project.

My head is spinning from further reading for research purposes and I really must find time to work on this more this coming week. I have been selected to be in a publication based in New York, which is also exciting but most importantly I have managed to secure a weekly holiday in Morocco to feel a little warmth and find headspace to think about my ongoing practice.

I have much writing to do, so I really should exit at this point as this has been a fast paced blogpost, even for me..

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

So now my website (and this blog) is all new. I am, a little reserved about the white, but will see if it warms over time.
I had a great meeting at Aid & Abet in Cambridge yesterday with the artists collective ROAM. We were discussing ways in which we are to move our now arts council funded project ROAMING along. Whilst there, I saw some great work from many friends that have inhabited the space for the duration of July and although the show/residencies had finished a couple of days ago, it was good to catch up with the remnants of what had been.
Brantwood is all but complete, although I have to write up the titles and prices list over the next couple of days. The work for Dr Johnson's has been discussed and confirmed, but I need to put Telling aside for a short while to complete works for Pulp Fictions, Folkestone Triennial and Asylum for September. Work for Transition Gallery is almost there and drawings for a couple of projects are being worked on as I write.
I am really excited about the ROAM project as it allows me to work on ideas for a film, which is going to be extremely challenging but exciting if the collaborations all fall into place. It will be a great project to work on over those dark and cold months with hopefully a outcome by the spring for an extensive showing in the summer of next year. Lets hope it all works out. There should also, support pending, be a small publication at the end of it, which I am really keen to express my ideas and concepts behind this work, as it seems like a natural way to progress my work right now.
In between my thoughts and processes that are both old and new I am working on a new narrative that will hopefully house the portraits that I have been making over the last few years. This at the moment is a visual mapping of a place where these works may or may not exist in the future. I am reading many excerpts from books at the same time to enable the creation of this place, whether it be fictional or real. What I am sure about is that I am excited to be making work that is more personal to me as it has been a struggle over the last couple of months to make all of my doings cohesive.
Exciting times ahead perhaps?

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