Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Art space vs Fair space

'Campfire' Cafe Gallery 2008

My last entry featured one of my early drawings, this is what I’ve been doing for the past year – drawing. That seems strange for an artist to declare, but I actually stopped drawing for several years. Just before I made this turnaround I was struggling with huge ideas, all thanks to a t-shirt. Not having fully grappled with the implications of modernism, I found myself wading through utopian ideals, wondering how far I could take sharing authorship production and performance of my work with others. I decided to make an experiment, inspired by reading or should I say several attempts at reading Jean Luc Nancy’s ‘The inoperative community’; thinking about the analogy he used - that of the atom and the force which draws one atom to another, I believe the term is ‘clinamen’.

So on a rather warm night in September (thinking about man’s harnessing of fire and its cultural and social legacy) I provided and facilitated members of the public as well as other artists to share stories, artwork, songs and music by a fire. It was a lovely evening but somehow I was left exhausted but not particularly fulfilled. My engagement with the public has always been through my product. As all struggling artists know it is difficult to find markets for ones work and so my experiments in the street played with ideas of entrepreneurship, branding and commerce.

I was seriously preoccupied with social strata, its unavoidable really as we are dealing with culture here. You may have noticed that I do describe my work often as a 'product'; I’m involved in cultural production, thinking about it that way helps to level out the playing field - it doesn't have to be a competition between high and low culture. I thought I needed to democratise my work, but eventually I felt like I’d given too much of myself away. It’s hard recognising your own limits and boundaries. But thinking positively about it perhaps some of limits are principles, ones I should be proud of...

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