Thursday, 21 July 2011

Mitchell & Kenyon

Yesterday I went to the National Fairground Archive at Sheffield University as part of my research. It is full of fascinating books and ephemera as well housing as an extensive archive of digital materials. Aside from what I went in there to look at, I also learnt about Mitchell and Kenyon films, an amazing visual record of everyday life in Britain at the beginning of the twentieth century. The films, of everyday scenes, were made to be shown at the fair, in order to entice people in so they could see themselves in the cinema. You can see lots of them on the BFI You tube channel.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Make your own uncool

A letter from Sol Le Witt to Eva Hesse via Greg Kurcewicz

Dear Eva,

It will be almost a month since you wrote to me and you have possibly forgotten your state of mind (I doubt it though). You seem the same as always, and being you, hate every minute of it. Don’t! Learn to say “Fuck You” to the world once in a while. You have every right to. Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itchin, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, numbling, rumbling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO!

From your description, and from what I know of your previous work and you [sic] ability; the work you are doing sounds very good “Drawing-clean-clear but crazy like machines, larger and bolder… real nonsense.” That sounds fine, wonderful – real nonsense. Do more. More nonsensical, more crazy, more machines, more breasts, penises, cunts, whatever – make them abound with nonsense. Try and tickle something inside you, your “weird humor.” You belong in the most secret part of you. Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool. Make your own, your own world. If you fear, make it work for you – draw & paint your fear and anxiety. And stop worrying about big, deep things such as “to decide on a purpose and way of life, a consistant [sic] approach to even some impossible end or even an imagined end” You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to DO!

I have much confidence in you and even though you are tormenting yourself, the work you do is very good. Try to do some BAD work – the worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell – you are not responsible for the world – you are only responsible for your work – so DO IT. And don’t think that your work has to conform to any preconceived form, idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be. But if life would be easier for you if you stopped working – then stop. Don’t punish yourself. However, I think that it is so deeply engrained in you that it would be easier to DO!

It seems I do understand your attitude somewhat, anyway, because I go through a similar process every so often. I have an “Agonizing Reappraisal” of my work and change everything as much as possible = and hate everything I’ve done, and try to do something entirely different and better. Maybe that kind of process is necessary to me, pushing me on and on. The feeling that I can do better than that shit I just did. Maybe you need your agony to accomplish what you do. And maybe it goads you on to do better. But it is very painful I know. It would be better if you had the confidence just to do the stuff and not even think about it. Can’t you leave the “world” and “ART” alone and also quit fondling your ego. I know that you (or anyone) can only work so much and the rest of the time you are left with your thoughts. But when you work or before your work you have to empty you [sic] mind and concentrate on what you are doing. After you do something it is done and that’s that. After a while you can see some are better than others but also you can see what direction you are going. I’m sure you know all that. You also must know that you don’t have to justify your work – not even to yourself. Well, you know I admire your work greatly and can’t understand why you are so bothered by it. But you can see the next ones and I can’t. You also must believe in your ability. I think you do. So try the most outrageous things you can – shock yourself. You have at your power the ability to do anything.

I would like to see your work and will have to be content to wait until Aug or Sept. I have seen photos of some of Tom’s new things at Lucy’s. They are impressive – especially the ones with the more rigorous form: the simpler ones. I guess he’ll send some more later on. Let me know how the shows are going and that kind of stuff.
My work had changed since you left and it is much better. I will be having a show May 4 -9 at the Daniels Gallery 17 E 64yh St (where Emmerich was), I wish you could be there. 

Much love to you both.

Wuthering Heights

Yesterday I went to see the London Street Photography exhibition at the Museum of London and on the concourse in St Pancras Station. I realised I had seen some of the images before, by a photographer called Nils Jorgensen who I follow on Flickr. Replete with the unexpected, his Flickr stream is consistently interesting and the St Pancras part of the exhibition, which focused on his work didn't disappoint.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Red folk

Sixty Impossible Things Before Lunch

Artwork from Harriet Russell's new book 'Sixty Impossible Things Before Lunch' is on display at The Design Conspiracy from the 15th July - 22nd July. I bought the book, published by Edizioni Corraini at the Bologna Book Fair along with The Utterly Pointless Counting Book. Both books are beautifully illustrated and very funny.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Collector's Corner

Growing up in what is probably best described as a trove of antiquities and collectibles, I was surrounded by my grandfather's legacy. My preoccupation with collecting was perhaps inevitable.

The way we live with the things we love

I work with a lady called Jo. This is the pin board/shelf beside her desk. It is a beautiful collection of family photos, drawings, old toys and bits and bobs; each piece thoughtfully collected and arranged. 

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Monday, 11 July 2011

Le Banc/The Bench

Via David Hughes.

Ryan Mosley Exhibition

Looking forward to seeing Mr Mosley's solo show at the Alison Jacques Gallery in London. It's on from the 15th July until the 13th August. Check out the press release here.

Foto 8 Summershow

The Foto8 Summershow is on at the moment. It runs until the 12th August at HOST Gallery in Honduras Street, London, EC1 0TH.

Click here for a slideshow of the shortlisted images which includes my particular favourite by Richard Chambury.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Moustache chap

This chap didn't make the cut for our postcard exhibition... I forgot to scan the one that did!

Tayori - Postcards for Japan

Tayori - Postcards for Japan

Michaelhouse Cafe
St. Michael's Church
Trinity Street,
Cambridge CB2 1SU
01223 309 147

Dates: 5th - 11th September 2011

Opening times: 8am – 5pm Monday – Saturday

The title of this exhibition can be interpreted two ways: Tayori, ‘便り’, means letter or tiding, and interpreted with different characters '頼り', it means help or reliance. Our intention for this exhibition encompasses both.

We present a collection of original work submitted both by student and professional artist/illustrators, some already established, some at the beginning of their careers. Each piece takes the form of a postcard: individually and together, they are intended as a message of hope and good wishes for Japan.

The work will be exhibited and sold anonymously and at the same price. In this way, anyone may become the owner of a piece by a well-known illustrator, and everyone will be able to buy original artwork to enjoy!

Teachers For Japan is a nonprofit, all volunteer charity initiative dedicated to the cause of rebuilding education in northern Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami of March 11th, 2011.