Monday, 13 June 2011


Talking to a friend about the ‘state of things’ usually takes us to talking about the art world – then grumbling about it too. Usually I say something, he always tells me I can’t say.

Watch me a reductionist at work lol…

Tracy Emin @ Hayward June 2011

I meet two kinds of artist – the ones that ‘have something to say’ and the ones that ‘don’t have anything to say’. Generally I believe this is more to do with what is deemed ‘appropriate’.

I went along to the Tracy Emin show last week, hadn’t really looked at her work extensively. She was one of the characters in the art world that seemed both revered and despised in equal measure. She always seemed to say the most inappropriate things, but had the confidence to do so. Yes the work is self involved, and I wonder whether she clung on to her misery in order to make it. Poor Tracy - she might have been happier after all if she had that baby – who knows. Surprisingly I did enjoy it on the whole, especially the blanket pieces, which hint at the ambitions she might have had when she tried to be a ‘painter’. Educated arts professionals are encouraged to produce many layers and levels of meaning through their work. Emin represents an extreme, which might appear trite but exists never the less. And her experience is something that many people are intrigued by or relate too jugging by the amount of visitors in the Hayward.

As an artist working for some years with sensitivity to the site, functioning within the conventions of the white cube is an extreme. Black on white or black in white, is the only way I can articulate this right now. But within a world, which is rapidly growing smaller by the day. ‘Black’ as a cultural construct is loosing its coherency, accuracy and meaning - the thing is becoming nebulous. I’m thinking about this in the terms of sociological and anthropological theory, which accompanied the studies of many black artists. If you’ve spent a lifetime analyzing who says when its time to stop? I was asked the other day if I was becoming too ‘clinical’? When I first tried to inhabit the gallery I tried to transform it to get rid of the bleach. Then having some time away from it brought the realization that my product could not stand up to the ravages of the ‘weather’. So I’m looking at it like this, I’m breeding my own ‘culture’ and it needs particular conditions to survive and hopefully thrive…