Oh, Everyday Pain is a persistent chap, and the recliner frame is broken again and back with Jason, and he’s busy. This means it’s turning out to be an excruciating and, therefore, challenging week!
I’ve been busy; I’ve set up a Wrestling with Everyday Pain Instagram account and a Facebook page.
The Facebook page was so popular Facebook bots were convinced someone had hacked my account, and it caused all sorts of drama. Which means I have to add people a bit at a time. Contributors are posting and chatting with each other, so it’s been wonderful to watch art starting to become a community.
That community feel is what I took away from our Friday’s recreation of Free (1992), the performance art of Rirkrit Tiravanija. Free and Pad Thai (1990) used the preparation and eating of a communal meal to challenge canonical ideas of art and push through to a conceptual embrace of social and cultural diversity.
Redefining what art is has been a massive revelation for me this year.
What follows are the bones and my current responses to a piece I wrote in the spring of 2022. So much has changed in the last six months and even more in the last four weeks. These reflections and responses help me plot a course through the developments in my art practice.
I arrived at art school thinking I was here to learn to paint, but two years in, what I’ve really learnt is how to think!
Absolutely no change there, and that is happening with diametric expansion right now.
Vincent Van Gogh was always the excuse given by my dad as to art’s economic unsustainability.
We are about to go into a massive global recession, I am an artist at the end of her productive years I do not have the luxury to shy away from that fact. In my minds eye this new art practice I was to develop through my time at university was supposed to support me and my family. That in itself is a dreadful reckoning that most working artists have to face. Now more than ever that pressure could be an absolute killer of artistic creativity and the spawn of the kitsch Devil, so I am determined to free myself from those restrictions creatively and emotionally.
I’ve found fine arts education akin to a base jumper’s ground rush; I was bombarded with countless influences and new ideas. Art history was a revelation.
Oh how I love art history and I see it influence my own practice, particularly post-modern feminist art of the 70’s and 80’s and perversely the movements of Dada and Surrealism and their ironic counterpart of Neo-Dada. Not ideas that were even on my radar before coming to university. My realisation as to what Contemporary painting is, has been something of a nasty shock. However finding out what a Contemporary art practice could be here in IP has been like finding my way home.
It’s not been plain sailing to develop my style.
To be fair is any development of any art practice? If yours is straightforward, good for you!
In a historiographical sense, my work explores themes of disrupted reality, ableism, waves of war, fuel profiteering, geopolitical chaos, the rising tide of climate emergency, crisis avoidance and cohesive control.
Go me, however this semester I’m exploring something more tangible, the concept of Everyday Pain through animation and social media dialogue. (That’s a sentence I never thought I would write.)
It’s been an extraordinary life and challenging two years. Nine of my friends died of covid, three of cancer, and two from suicide, contrasting with my physical deterioration but unexpected longevity. Hell yes! I’m emotionally compromised, but I hope you can see the fight, the sheer bloody-mindedness and the indomitable joie de vivre in my work. As artists, we take all of our life experiences and distil them into our work.
Yes that has been the challenge, in how and what form does that distillation take. Not in any form that I imagined, would be my reply….
I hope my work provides you with a visual stimulus to provoke and enjoy…the real magic happens through your eyes; art holds up a metaphorical black mirror where the viewer takes their own life experiences and subsumes a new vision which I find genuinely joyful.
I still hold that truth. I find life and art a happy if sometimes demanding shared community experience.
I now believe that we all see self-portraits as the viewer, just as we the artist create self-portraits, whatever style, motif or medium we use.
I feel I am now getting to the root of that statement, though of course I give the caveat that I and my art practice are in continuing development and flux. Instead of my perceive existential crisis of the first two years of my degree I now see the reflexivity of pleasure and worth in that epistemology.
That realisation has been the actual evolution of my artistic practice.
SPEAK THAT TRUTH SISTER
Here is my ‘ten-point’ art process checklist:
1. Be yourself – Always.
2. Make paint; I like making paint. –Still do, though I now know that painting doesn’t define me as an artist.
3. Explore techniques – mmm I still am but not in the way I did in year 2, then I was wandering around the art departments looking for a replacement for tattooing, nothing can replace that.
4. Just like life, my art have many layers – Oh this is a good one and so very true.
5. Art is therapy for the soul; feel it, don’t fight it. – You can’t fight the art within, try and it will deaden your creative soul.
6. Make mistakes, embrace them, prepare to destroy and recreate. – Never been shy of a full blown c*ck-up, I think of myself as fearless (see the end of the blog for an antithetical remark).
7. Live on a beach; life and art are always better in a deckchair. – True, but a functional recliner is a lot more comfortable.
8. We will all die, so what are you waiting for; be fearless. – See there is that concept again!
9. There are no rules…. – Hee Hee
10. If you find some rules break them, it’s our duty as artists. – Of course
11. Absolutely, without any reservations, be yourself. (11. See what I did there!)
Points 6 and 8 bring me back nicely to Tiravanija. His work Free turns on it’s head what the vox pop would describe as art… during the class I saw scribbled by the kettle in pen “this will never be art” what it should say is “I’m not ready to understand what art is”
If you say it’s art it is…
how true is that statement?
If your intention is art it is…
might be the better one
It is only art if it is received as such?
Well what’s the bl**dy point of that! We would still be scratching dodgy animals drawings in ochre in French caves if we really believed that!
I know some are still debating Duchamp’s Fountain (1917) but the art wasn’t the urinal it was the R. Mutt signature and f*ck you to those that dare define and more importantly try to control art and artists. Those Luddites that are still debating Duchamp’s artistic validity are not only blind they are the ones it was aimed at and yet they still don’t get the it!!! Well they wouldn’t would they!
So what is art, can it really be preparing a meal as a group and sharing that food while been watched and/or filmed. Of course it can! if it’s intention is there to provoke thought, memories, discussion and debate as well as nourish, what is a better description of art than that!
Meanwhile my rough cut of Wrestling with Everyday Pain is coming together, how I use the ‘your story’ section is still mulling in my brain soup but I think I have a solution, I am awaiting the return of my magic chair!.
Talking of magic I took some overhead photos of the ingredients during prep in class, inspired by Cindy Sherman’s current practice of using standard photo manipulation apps I used those as a base for these digital paintings.
I really wanted to finish this weeks post with a picture or link to a piece of work that on Artsy
Rirkrit Tiravanija Untitled 2017
Which is a large white nylon flag 121cm x 182cm that has on it hand appliquéd lettering that says, ‘FEAR EATS THE SOUL’.
But after my copyright class of this mornings Research and Professional Practice I am too ‘fearful’ to either post the image or ‘deep’ link you to its page… therefore you will either have to go to the Artsy site and search for it yourself or use your imagination. This statement could be conceptual art in itself and I rather like that… I’m calling it Fearful 2022
Good news the magic chair is back, so I was able to put together a rough cut of the film with some sound work and music.