Life after Beuys

Life is a sensory experience of the world.

Art is a sensory expression of life.

Life is a series of irreversible changes brought about by transient events.

Art is a series of irreversible changes brought about by transient ideas.


My final performance for the degree show involved touring the show cradling a raw chicken. I spoke to it of life and art in each space as I considered the work. Though I ignored any attempted communication from the other viewers of the show or the artists who sat in their spaces, there was a huge amount of “audience participation”. Mostly it was through reactions that people became unconscious performers in the piece, either reacting to the fact that I was carrying a chicken or to the fact that I ignored them when they enquired about my actions. Some people actively followed me around, watching me instead of looking at the work on the walls or leaning in closer than you usually would to a stranger in order to hear what I was saying to the chicken. The most interesting part for me was when I was standing by a door waiting for someone to walk through so I could continue, a small crowd began to gather watching me through the glass. I stood patiently until one of the group hesitantly opened the door and held it for me as I walked through. There were also several interesting alignments between my performance and the other work in the show; paintings of eggs and chickens as well as other references to death, the maternal body and raw meat. I wonder if anyone else noticed them.

p.s. “Stranger” is a very interesting word.


Irreversible changes

Eggs, Egg Timer, Sawdust, Paper Bag, Pink Shoes, Teapot, Tea Cup, Rabbit Pelts, Lemon Curd, Felt Rabbit Ears, Wool

(Picture to follow soon)

I remember reading (but can’t remember where) about the idea of actions and process that produce irreversible changes. Specifically the example of a man walking in a sand pit filled with white sand in one half and black sand in the other; he walks in a clockwise direction mixing the sand together creating an even grey mix. He then walks in an anti-clockwise direction, reversing the action, but no matter how long he walks he cannot separate the white sand from the black sand and return them to their original halves.

Violence and tenderness, wildness and civilised behaviour, human animal and non-human animal, these were the things I was thinking about as I performed.

Smashing an egg, trying to re-place the contents back into the shell, smearing lemon curd on the wall and my face, walking in circles, scattering sawdust, making a nest, destroying a nest, slipping in egg and lemon curd, burying eggs in sawdust, wrapping a teacup in fur and wool, concealing, revealing, cycles, changes.

Irreversible changes…

to the materials and to myself.

The world didn’t end on Saturday.

The Sun still rose today.

I wonder if it will tomorrow.

Degree Show Previews and Susan Philipsz

It’s been a busy few weeks preparing for the degree show and I am afraid I have been a bit lax in updating this blog however the show is now underway and is going great.

Thursday was the associates preview which was attended by the Turner Prize 2010 winner Susan Philipsz, a former graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone. Susan is the first artist working with sound to have won the turner prize and she gave a lecture to students about her work in the afternoon. Her presentation was followed by a question and answer session with a small panel of students which included myself and two other artists working with sound and performance. Susan was very friendly and extremely complimentary about the work she saw at the show.

Friday was the opening and the atmosphere at the show was buzzing. I had a lot of interest in my artist books (available from following the link to the right) and some interesting conversations about both my work and the show as a whole. Of course the booze was flowing so everyone was in high spirits.

For the rest of the week I will be invigilating and performing at various times.  Performances are scheduled for 3pm Tuesday 24th, 1pm Thursday 26th, and 11am Saturday 28th in my space in the Cooper Foyer Gallery, but I will also be doing unscheduled performances throughout the week both in my space and around the university.