Tuesday, 8 June 2010


Untitled black series (detail) 2009

One thing that I must admit is that I’m not a historian. I’m a very ‘present’ person, I live in the now (probably too much) and the work reflects this. Previous works played with the trappings of consumerism, mimicking strategies like the advert, leaflet or video promo. This new work has a currency but the nature of its contemporaneity is founded in the notion of ‘becoming’.

As I said before I have been preoccupied with one ontological enquiry, the evolving identity or consciousness ever since the blob project. I suppose the trick is to imbed these ideas in the structure and processes of the work. One artist that does this very well I believe, is Brazilian artist Anna Maiolino. I feel an affinity with her journey to and effort to reconcile the political artistic lineage that preceded her, with a more subjective and expressive language. Her simple manipulation of clay into multiple and seemingly identical units talks of something before politics - something primal.

‘Never a single point of origin but multiple and splintered in many constellations’ Briony Fer

I came across a brilliant essay by Briony Fer, which talks about Maiolino's clay works in detail - the quote above (from this essay) struck a chord in me. In the 60’s and 70’s Brazilian artists were very much influenced by the notion of Anthropophagia – the cannibalisation of other cultures and this is still reflected in the intestine like forms she creates. The question of cultural origin is complex, in terms of the colonial story, but also with our ever-expanding global community perhaps concepts like these are still pertinent.