Definitely time to wrap up part 3. It’s all blue bagged and the assignment reflection/review is in process. But before I step onto things flat – print part 4 – which has already started evolving in my minds along the lines of: why does it have to be flat, and do you just have to print on flat paper, and I wonder what would happen if I avoided this – I have to mention my recent visit to the Turner.

I have to rant.

‘Seeing Round Corners’: an exhibition that promised to present ‘The Art of Circle’ curated by artists David Ward and Jonathan Parsons, with the Turner Contemporary.

I went in curious, open-minded and determined to immerse myself in the breadth and depth of collated wisdom. Yet again, the Turner has managed to confront me with my own irritations. Shonibare was still there, so we whisked past his work straight to the above exhibition (I’m trying to be succinct here and not comment on the lack of ‘Hands on Philosophy’ that the Turner presents itself as championing, nor the Philosophy for Enquiry methods which it proclaims itself as developing (little aside – one other hat I wear is a trainer in this ‘method’ – I don’t follow anything prescriptively which is why although I have this ‘qualification’ it has rather slipped in to the melting pot of me and become part of the steaming molten flurry inside so I don’t deify it, but I do recognise when it is being presented and Very Much Absent). I saw NO evidence of P for E being shared. At all.

I saw lots of art work hung, positioned and deadened in the still, sterile, false, clinical environment through which one has to wander at a certain pace with a certain look of church-like reverence, keeping voices to a respectful whisper and certainly No photographs and Do Not Touch. 1) The pieces themselves have no hearing – so they are not going to be offended by what volume. 2) This is not sacred ground – and actually I don’t think that my God is that small that he expects you to whisper in the presence of any revelation of the Spiritual (whatever you should receive that as being whether you believe in spirit as godly or earthly creativity, human or otherwise)- awe is not silent. Wonder is not still. Death is. Life is movement and sound and energy. These artworks were created with passion and life and energy. So yes, let’s present them like hanged smugglers so we The General Public can be taught the lesson – this is not for your kind. Or maybe it is not this, may be it is the works so out of reach, so untouchable, so Other, that we are not worthy to raise are eyes or voices around them in case the gods of art strike us low for our disrespect. I have ranted on the forum about a particularly injurious attendant who wouldn’t let some children touch a giant inflated gym ball (even though like me, he’d watched their dad encouraging the game for quite some time).

Anyhow, moving forward. It made me think. I am determined never to be that self-satisfied, that vainglorious, that my work cannot be interacted with on anything other than a cerebral conceptual level. This presents a new question. What will it be made of that can support this function? It cannot be fragile on the outer surface. I want people to ‘have a moment’ with my work, to lose themself in that overlap of my world and their world. Yes, I still need my work to be a playground. I shall have music playing. Very loud and if anyone doesn’t like it they can hire those headphones that will pipe a recording of the silence of a crypt with the occasional shuffle of feet and throat clearance when they get too near not interacting with the work.And if my work ever becomes that precious that it cannot be touched, well 1) I’ll probably be on another plane so it’s not going to matter to me; 2) I am not a commodity, nor is my work. My art is because I’ve wondered, it is there as my question and answer: to wonder at, and wonder with. 3) If someone doesn’t want it touched, buy it. Because I never want some child to be in tears in a gallery because they’ve been told ‘Do not Touch’ about my work. I do not want some curiosity to be killed by ‘You can’t touch because it’s Art.’ If the owner of my work wants to make that rule then so be it, they’ll have bought that right from me, but I never want it to be ‘because the artist said so.’ My goodness we are sent out into the world the most fragile of beings with a heart that can break and a mind that can shatter. We are a piece of Art. It is from me that these creations emerge. They are not me. I will not break because something inanimate I’ve made has. I will just have to make afresh and make anew and make better. If I’m not here to do that…as I said, it won’t worry me. And if there’s the worry about it being damaged because it has might be worth something, then a gallery has become a giant brokers.

I did like the photograph of Rosalind Franklin’s image ‘Photo 51’ (1952) of the discovery of DNA.

I’m sure if you were to watch the cells in our body, they are constantly in the round of the cell cycle:when we are living the DNA is constantly zipping and unzipping, moving and regenerating, going through all those deliciously worded stages: meiosis, mitosis, cytokinesis… come to think of it – isn’t the cycle of our active art making imitative of this:

  • G1 phase. Metabolic changes prepare the cell for division. (Ideas have gone in, thoughts are generating and that liminal moment that something is coming to form rises inside) At a certain point – the restriction point – the cell is committed to division and moves into the S phase (the sampling begins).
  • S phase. DNA synthesis replicates the genetic material. Each chromosome now consists of two sister chromatids.(Ideas, processes, intention, metaphors, meaning, questions start magnetising to match that first impulse, first stimuli.)
  • G2 phase. Metabolic changes assemble the cytoplasmic materials necessary for mitosis and cytokinesis. (More processing of ideas and meaning and gathering of external readiness)
  • M phase. A nuclear division (mitosis) followed by a cell division (cytokinesis).(The exterior art production and process start replicating the interior material intention and delivery)

The period between mitotic divisions – that is, G1, S and G2 – is known as interphase. Exactly! Which explain everything about that period of apparent hibernation or non-generation. It is anything but!

Isn’t the surface of our art the platform upon which our inner surface is impressed? Imagine if that part of you could touch that part of someone else!




9 thoughts on “Exhibition

  1. Awe inspiring post. I’m with you on the touching. I think the hands-on and stroking at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park makes it my favourite art place so far. Lots of sheep and no sniffy staff!


  2. Video might work well for you, perhaps in conjunction with the ability to touch work. I can’t help feeling that video like the one you’ve put up recently would work very well on a larger scale with a compelling soundtrack.


      1. I think it would get the 3Dness over on a large scale. It’s not always my medium of choice, but I was besotted by its use to show a typology of clothing and textiles at the Strange and Familiar exhibition at the Barbican, it really brought it all to life.

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  3. I agree about the soundtrack. When I watched your video on the other post I heard music in my head – kind of floaty and ethereal and probably not at all what you’d choose? But that’s a great reason to add sound to your installation, if that’s the way you choose to go. I also have a vision of that black suprasemic ‘writing’ moving and writhing around… maybe video could help make that happen.

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  4. Thanks Kate and Julie. I like how this is evolving between us. Best get the girls to teach me moviemaker or the like. (Also it was very loud dance music Julie – but perhaps you could choose your sound effect and see what changes?)


  5. You could project a film. And/or you could use lighting like Cornelia Parker’s Dark Matter and cast huge shadows from the ‘writing’ which people can walk amongst. Better book your space at the Tate Modern.

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