memory. language, art. wittgenstein. books. ceramics.

all sorts of thinkings on memory, language, art, wittgenstein, books, etc, while I am getting on with my MA

Monday 31 January 2011

Porcelain paper - it has not collapsed!

Oh - the joys of opening the kiln! Regardless of all the efforts you never know what awaits inside.

My paper porcelain is holding together very well! They have collapsed slightly, thought. Well - and there are a few other issues that need to be resolved. I might glaze them on the inside.

Saturday 29 January 2011

Burning books - no11; 1969

1969. Blank.

The number of books in young people's personal libraries increased 60 per cent. (from Illustrated History of the USSR)

I am taking books, that no longer have the society that supports them (uh! I have got a barn full of them!) and I reduce them to an immensely fragile state (firing in the kiln) - so fragile, that they may disintegrate in hands - just like the memory of the times, that they represent.

Burning books - no10; 1978



This one has been completely destroyed. I do like the aesthetics of it, even though, the outcome looks like a disaster. I do like this book. I love the traces on the clay and metal clips. It is also holding better together, so it could be mounted on the wall.

Where do I find a studio with a kiln for the future?

I am taking books, that no longer have the society that supports them (uh! I have got a barn full of them!) and I reduce them to an immensely fragile state (firing in the kiln) - so fragile, that they may disintegrate in hands - just like the memory of the times, that they represent.

Thursday 27 January 2011

Burning books - no9; 1974

1974. Kaunas. That was the year when this book got published. Just think - somebody took time and effort to put it together. Somebody thought it was good and bought it. Possibly read it. Underlined words. Thought about it. Made notes.
And it has all become useless now. Discarded. Baby has outgrown the clothes.
The memory of that time and that truth have become faint and fragile. Disintegrating in mind, burning in flames, rotting away in basements.
In my case - sitting in the boxes and blocking the room.

Well - yesterday this first proper book came out of the kiln. There are a number of things I do not like and I will be changing. On the whole, it is heading the right direction. It will certainly be all white (I was considering gold and black) - like a face without blood. The book will certainly be fired on the tablet. There will be no glaze.

I am taking books, that no longer have the society that supports them (uh! I have got a barn full of them!) and I reduce them to an immensely fragile state - so fragile, that they may disintegrate in hands - just like the memory of the times, that they represent.

Sunday 23 January 2011

London Art Fair: Aliki Braine's altered landscapes for big walls.

Big landscapes! That Australian man would be oh so happy! Except that Aliki Braine's landscapes are punched, so I am not sure how they fit into the category of "lovely pictures".

Aliki is interested in how a photograph can be transformed into an object and uses destructive techniques to disrupt her otherwise pastoral landscape images. Often cutting, drawing with ink or punching holes into the negative her violation of the pristine surface of the photograph forces the viewer to look towards the texture of the photographic paper and opens up a new understanding of the photographic process and image making. For Aliki the hole puncher acts in much the same way as a painter's brush, enabling her to make a mark on her photographic canvas. (From Troika Editions website).

PS I have just realized, that I really do like artwork with absence.

London Art Fair: Sankeum Hoh pearls up the language.

Sankeum Koh at Hanmi Gallery. There is something about things that look like language, but we cannot read. A possibility of language. Removed language. Empty shapes. Fired books.
Sankeum KOH’s works involve the meticulous assembly of pearl beads or steels balls to create an illusion of blurred texts, sourcing from newspaper columns, books, and poetry. Koh transforms the literary words into fragmented visions. She draws upon the viewer’s frustration of not being able to read the cryptic codes leaving the viewer to question what it is they are actually ‘reading’. Her works aim to challenge the validity of such texts in newspapers and question the dogmatic approach of its readers.

London Art Fair: such a lovely picture!

I really should not complain about London Art Fair. It did have a mix of artworks with a mix of artists: established and less established; dead and alive; painters and printmakers. (no books, though). It also had the projects space upstairs, which was really interesting, mostly fresh and much less crowded. However - away from the project space - LAF in Islington did not look too different from AAF in Battersea. I really should not moan about it: these fairs are there to sell the work and earn money for themselves, galleries and artists. And selling is what they do.
"Lovely picture. We have just bought a new house in Australia and we need to fill one big wall. Really big wall. "
Lucky is the artist who made that big picture to suit the big wall. He will make a big sale.
While I am coming into terms with the thought that all I do, is make lovely things: ornaments for an Ideal Homes Show.

A positive thought:
"Treating art as commodity, a very expensive commodity, elevates the meaning of art... Because it becomes more important in people's minds, when you spend your money on it." - John Baldessari (from Again the Metaphor Problem).

London Art Fair: Clay Ketter, Klaus Staudt, Valeria Nascimento.

Clay Ketter had a few impressive pieces called Golf Coast Slabs. Very powerful pictures, that look like abstract photographs at first. On a closer inspection it becomes clear, that they are actually traces of homes: the homes swept away by the hurricane Katrina that hit the American Gulf Coast in 2006.
His work on the surface has a beautifully minimalist aesthetic, but the real interest lies beneath the layers in a "truth to materials" approach and the perfection of the process.

Klaus Staudt. Loved it! Reminds me of this fog.

Valeria Nascimento plays with porcelain (like me, then!)

London Art Fair: Diana Taylor and Rowena Huges

Diana Taylor and Rowena Huges must have been my favorite. Diana seems to be working with memories and fragmentation. Unfortunately, I cannot say much about them: the ladies at Room Artspace did not happen to be the talkative ones (hm... except with each other).

London Art Fair: Tony Charles and Deb Covell at Platform-A Gallery

Platform-A must have been the friendliest gallery at the London Art Fair. It is such a pleasure to talk to people who are willing and interested to talk about their work and their gallery.
Uh - not every stand at LAF was like that. What is it with some of the people, that they cannot be asked to respond to human interaction?

First I noticed Deb Covell's work on the wall on the left. Her pieces are small scale and they have an air of insignificance about them. Delicate. They are called "PLY" series. These collages are detritus of larger paintings. As such, they are invested with complex material history. Deb Covell attempts to bridge the gap between the ordinary and familliar with and often idealistic quest for beauty and purity. (the last few sentences are not mine - they are taken from press release)

Tony Charles had his work on the floor. He is interested in the ultimate fragility of something apparently permanent. For this piece, Tony had the floors removed from a house for demolition. He harvested rust and steel powder, which he then stenciled onto the floor. At the end of the day, he said, the pattern will get hoovered up. The ultimate ephemerality!

Thursday 20 January 2011

"Hidden Spaces" sketchbook exhibition: sharing a vitrine with Grayson Perry.

Everybody knows Grayson Perry. Even my daughter (10) knows the potter who looks like Alice (in the Wonderland) and makes vases with penises. OK, she may not be an average ten year old. She does get dragged around galleries a bit. However, it did impress her, that I had to share a vitrine with the Grayson Perry!

Danny has assembled this really interesting exhibition of sketchbooks, that were shown at Camberwell for a week. I brought in mine just as he was arranging the others, therefore, I had a chance to flick through some amazing - I mean really amazing - and creative sketchbooks.

Dannys own sketchbooks are quite remarkable. He uses old books and works on top of them: a kind of pamplicest. Stephen Cooper's and Janet Bradley's sketchbooks are very "
there": bright, bold, full. Natalie Yaxi brought bound volumes of junk mail. Grayson Perry, Christa Harris and me contributed "pocket" sketchbooks, used for casual notes and scribbles. I flicked though Perry's book yesterday. It was full of Jesuses and Marys and churches. A few rabbits on the bikes, a few babies, a few pretty girls. A hint of darkness. A fire. Some writing. It was not much different from his ceramics. However, I am tempted to say, that I enjoyed the sketchbook more, than his vases (and I do love his ceramics!). Is it because it is so much more immediate? More personal? Like looking into the person? Like getting to know the person.
(I suppose aesthetics of the work is the same, but content changes from personal to public).

Hidden Spaces Exhibition
For most artists sketchbooks have been spaces in which to rehearse and experiment without the pressure
of the outside world. This removal of audience creates a non judgemental, safe environment which
stimulates explorative play which in turn can feed the creative process. Many artists have told me they
consider their sketchbook work as important as final published works yet have never exhibited or shown
this work before, this still surprises me. The purpose of this exhibition is to bring together sketchbooks from
a range of successful practitioners that for the most part have never been exhibited.

1 Danny Aldred
My sketchbooks represent a process centred around the enjoyment of collage and the final completed
books on the most part have inadvertently become finished pieces in their own right. As a child Brian
Eno described his enjoyment of collecting fossils from the beach and described this process as ‘beyond
thinking’, when I am collecting material and making my sketchbooks I can relate to this comment.

2. Janet Bradley

3 Stephen Cooper
This selection of some 60 drawings is taken from a total of 300 drawings executed over four consecutive
days in Paris. The project began on the Eurostar journey from London and was completed during the return
journey. The drawings shown here were made in my hotel room, many between 2 and 4 in the morning
when I deliberately worked in complete darkness and was unable to view the paper. The subjects come
from memory and are concerned with science, brain function and consciousness. I have made drawings
in hotel rooms across the world for over 15 years but never “blindly” in this way or as intensively. They
represent a synthesis between collaged images and the process of drawing and thinking - a kind of collaged
drawing. I am interested in the unity of this process. My intention is to publish my drawings in various hotel
rooms in a series of books as well as to use them as a basis for a new body of painting installations.

4 Margaret Cooter
Crossing through, I become the last and only person to read this journal - having written it more than 10
years ago. The viewer is spared the moans, fears, doubts, exhortations, and trivia; dissolved or cancelled,
un-written, they are buried but have been ceremonially honoured. The insights, plans, ideas live on,
elsewhere; all content has been transformed.

5 Egidija Čiricaitė
My favorite sketchbooks are not the project books, but the handbag sketchbooks used for random thinking,
drawing and visual experimentation. I compile them using whatever is available at hand at that instant:
pens, soot, menus, weeds, tickets, etc. Those sketcbooks imprint the moment; they are directly linked to
the past through the existencial traces of the time and space where they were produced.

6 Andrew Foster
A sketchbook for me goes beyond an object, a sketch or a finished piece. Its simply about an attitude to
visual exploration. Its a place where you can allow yourself to visually be sick, without any pressure, pre
conceptions or boundaries from yourself or others. Its an intellectual space to play with intent.

7 Christa Harris

8 Charlotte Knox-Williams
I stopped making sketchbooks, and instead re-applied the principles or functions of these across my
practice. This folded drawing is a part drawn from a wider inter functioning conglomeration of work that
includes film, text, performance and installation.

9 Grayson Perry
10 Stewy
The selected sketch books were created in Toulouse, France in 1994. Between life drawing lessons I
explored the streets for three months making pen and ink architectural drawings, collages, photos,
collecting, food packaging, wallpaper scraps, tickets etc.

11 Natalie Yiaxi

Friday 14 January 2011

Plates: forgetfullness after David Hume

Vintage plates to be fired with ceramic decals. The images come from my own MRI scan and personal photo albums.

I have an appalling memory. Each time I read an old book, it's joy and wonder all over again, like I have never seen it. I do wonder, what would I be like if I was not so forgetful.

"Had we no memory, we should never have any notion of that succession of perceptions which constitutes our self or person." David Hume

When I go to house clearances I am always attracted to the plates. Plates are common. Everybody has plates. They get used well. They are very personal: chintzy, white, retro, etc. They are laden with specks somebody else's life: a chip on the left, a mark on the ridge.

When I get these used plates, I have an urge to scrub them scrub them scrub them to rid them of the traces of their previous owners. Is that possible at all?

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Deficit: loss of language, loss of identity, loss of memory


"Neurology's favorite word is "deficit", denoting an impairment or incapacity of neurological function: loss of speech, loss of language, loss of identity, loss of memory, loss of vision, loss of dexterity and a myriad other lacks and losses of specific functions or faculties." (from Oliver Sacks "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat")

Friday 7 January 2011

Drawing memory absence: I do not remember.

I do not remember. No words obscure my thoughts.

I do not remember things very well.
There is a swing and a budgerigar in the upper part of my brain.
Budgerigar whistles.
I had an MRI scan.

Dangus per dieną verkia

Už ką gi žemė barė dangų,
Kad jis dabar per dieną verkia.
(I cannot remember the author)

Meltdown:drawing grub all day.

I went into a meltdown yesterday, spending the whole day drawing.

This the my original grub in the pages of the book. A while ago I was photocopying in the library something about Pestival, when I came across this old photo, somebody had left in the magazine. So I photocopied it into the article. As a result, the meaning of the image and the article changed, extended, metamorphosed. The title: Fig.7. Grub in the pages of the book expanded: now it was referring to the underdressed woman, to the photo, to the idea of the pest and the book.
"Things become complicated in arts context" (John Baldessari) - yes, indeed.

Anyway, by the end of yesterday my grub underwent metamorphosis and here is a very extended vision of what a grub is and what it does.

Top picture: Grub in the book flies to the moon. He takes the GHOST along. For company. The GHOST hates the trip but stays polite in front of the press.
Bottom picture: This is not my grub. She came here by herself. To pause for a minute.

Grubs don't go chasing waterfalls. Especially not the ones from the books.

Not profound at all - but I had fun!

Thursday 6 January 2011

The face from the grave: vanishing pictures on the gravestones.

I have got a folder in my computer called THE GRAVES.

As I was recently looking into the whole idea of absence, I was becoming curious about those images on the gravestones. The vanishing or damaged images. Images that were meant to be there to preserve the face for the eternity.
When that picture is gone, one becomes really really dead, I thought. The name and the dates remain to describe what was once a person. Sounds like electoral register, doesn't it?

Tending the graves in 1970's

This is a great video I found on youtube. Tending the graves in 1970.

Wednesday 5 January 2011

Alicia Martin: overflowing books

Alicia Martin
does installations of cascading books. These are the more understated work : all that tension of crack splitting apart and busting open.

Selina Swayne: floating books

Recently I came across those floating books by Selina Swayne. I seem to have missed this Floating Exhibition on Serpentine in 2006.

Very evocative, aren't they? I would like to find out more about what is behind the installation.

Tuesday 4 January 2011

Eatterbury stream of photos

I pressed Next Blog and I came across this treasure.

Totally amazing stream of photos. Not quite sure what it is. Very domestic and surreal: all those animals and fabrics and Isabella and Monica. Mountains follow a fish in the sink. Everybody has a straight face. Like a staged documentary. Mocumentary. But real.

Monday 3 January 2011

Migration without words: porcelain aeroplanes

A while ago I said I was going to revive the whimsical and the dark work I used to do. Uh - so much of that! China does not come it black.

I would like to suspend these airplanes like migrating cranes. It is in development. Memories, identities that migrate with us. Memories that loose the verbal expression and become visual ghosts of themselves, that wear into nothingness with time.

"Language disguises thought". (TLP, 4.002)