Disquiet Year closed on July 25th and due to a combo of unpacking the new house, starting full time work (!!!) and having a birthday, I have neglected to post. But- there is a FB album of images here.
It consisted of two video works, this image, some large inkjet self-portraits doused in wine (called Blush 1-3) and a series of texts (Letters to M) made of cheap alphabet stickers dotted around the gallery and out into surroundings like the toilets, adjoining café and the carpark. These texts are drawn from an ongoing correspondence I’ve mentioned here before, and drew some positive comments, which pleased me greatly but were also quite a suprise to receive.
Actually, the show generally drew positive comments from those few people I have talked to about it but, like most artists, I am really interested in how it effected people either positively or negatively and their responses to this. There were many, many people at the opening for a start, many of whom I simply don’t really know. If you were one and have stumbled across this posting, I would love you to share your thoughts on it in the comments below.
The two video works seemed to be rather polarising in that one or the other tended to be peoples favourite work in the show. Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch played on a large monitor placed sideways on the floor with a long yellow tail of an extension cord trailing back to the socket at the wall. The monitor shows an image of a glowing radiator laid over my face as I make the sound repeatedly, spitting and hyperventilating a little as I go. The sideways monitor is a schtick of mine I have used a few times and gets trotted out as a device to indicate that all is not well and that things are somewhat askew. The face with chattering teeth embedded inside a radiator has a whiff of that too. I realised after making it that what the work actually does alongside these suggestions, is to replicate the stutter I developed when I broke down last year. Throw in the fact that I had been listening to a lot of David Bowie (Ch-ch-changes…) and a curious identification I have with the mump-faced lady in the radiator from David Lynch’s Eraserhead and once I was done, the work made perfect sense (to me at least).
Funnily enough, I was told that ‘the lady in the radiator’ is precisely what the other video, VS reminded someone of. I was actually trying to channel the figures of German expressionist cinema for that one. Hang on, was I? Or did I just observe the resemblance once it was shot… Travel back in time through the blog to find out…
Projected onto a plastic screen through a wave-form of halloweeny blood that drips into a fringe of skulls, it’s the oldest work in the show but shown for the first time. It features two Sallys that hate each other and hover, disembodied in an electrical hum and periodically snarl, spit big gobs at each other, or flip each other off, each insult augmented by an ‘action’ sound poached from a vintage video game. It has the effect of a giant game of pong where no-one is in control. It is also the only work in the show not to turn out just as I had imagined, and that threw me for a bit. But I think we’ve made our peace now, that work and I.
Overall I was pleased with it. While there are lessons to be learned about testing EVERYTHING before installation (especially if you are as inflexible as I can be) I was glad I was restrained and cut back on the content to really give everything some space. I’m glad the short run-up time meant that I had to show works that are a little more difficult for me to put out there. If given more time I may have given myself an unearned slap, decided that no-one wants to see my ‘dirty laundry’ and whipped up something cheerier, sillier and a little more smart-arsed. Mostly – in this instance if not in the case of Encore – I was also pleased people still managed to find some humour in there.
Maybe my darkness is not as dark as it feels when I’m there. And that could be a good thing to know.
Thanks so much to the Inflight Board for asking me to do it and supporting me with such care through the process.
p.s. My correspondence partner, Monique Germon wrote a wonderful essay for the little catalogue (which may have been more popular than the show come to think of it…). I might ask her permission to post it here soon.