Provocations – Against Failure

This was a great challenge as I had to argue against what I believe. I learnt that this is really not easy for me so maybe I now understand more about my priorities as an artist and in life. I would also like to improve my presentation skills, so this is great practice.  


provocationsbibliography (1)

Fabric experiments


Working from the publicity I have started to experiment with making life size screens using fine muslin and making line and stains with acrylics. I am experimenting with using stretchers and other structures – such as pieces of old furniture. (a bed above).

24454365395_469d96e429_o  The dishcloth absorbed most of the wash and moved the pigment a lot so I chose to experiment with size and this worked well apart from the fact that owing to the drawing pins it was no longer flat. I am not sure if this is a problem but it allowed me to add tone where I wanted to.

I am now thinking of adding less size to see if I can make a support which is neither totally  absorbent or resistant – alowing for some chance and some control. This is a difficult balance.


23976575794_f391abaa29_kthis piece is still without the size. I am not sure about this idea of anonymity. Some of the prostitutes which have blogs are extremely proud of their identity and  feel no need to be anonymous. Others hide their profession from families, children etc. The legal position makes it tricky at times if the workers are breaking the law in soliciting business (they have to be so many meters from the highway for example).

With the lack of the government right now the debating of the semi legal status of prostitution has come up quite a bit. Most politicians are clever enough to avoid being tied down on this one. The issues are so complex and there are many voices of prostitution which do not agree.

References for Provocations – Against Failure



Dave Hickey, 2012. The Invisible Dragon: Essays on Beauty, Revised and Expanded. Exp Rev Re Edition. University Of Chicago Press.

Ed. Robert S Nelson & Richard Shiff, 2003. Critical Terms for Art History, 2nd Edition. Second Edition. The University of Chicago Press.

Roger Scruton, 2011. Beauty: A Very Short Introduction. 1 Edition. Oxford University Press.

Fortnum, R., 2009. On Not Knowing, How Artists Think.. Cambridge, University of the Arts, London.


Jeremy Deller – My Failures. 2016. Jeremy Deller – My Failures. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 17 January 2016].

Art from Start to Finish: Jazz, Painting, Writing, and Other Improvisations – Howard S. Becker, Robert R. Faulkner, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett – Google Libros. 2016. Art from Start to Finish: Jazz, Painting, Writing, and Other Improvisations – Howard S. Becker, Robert R. Faulkner, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett – Google Libros. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 17 January 2016].

Wake of Art: Criticism, Philosophy, and the Ends of Taste – Arthur C. Danto, Gregg Horowitz, Tom Huhn, Saul Ostrow – Google Books. 2016. Wake of Art: Criticism, Philosophy, and the Ends of Taste – Arthur C. Danto, Gregg Horowitz, Tom Huhn, Saul Ostrow – Google Books. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 17 January 2016].

films for the humanities and sciences. (2004). Great ideas of Philosophy: Aesthetics. [Online Video]. 2004. Available from: [Accessed: 16 January 2016].

<blockquote>Brooke Lundquist, Brooke , 1999. <i>Wittgenstein and Aesthetics: What is the Language of Art?</i>. undergraduate. St. Peter, Minnesota: Gustavus Adolphus College.</blockquote>

Edvard Munch in the Thyssen 17/1/16


Yesterday I went to the Munch exhibition at the Thyssen, on the very last day. At least I did not miss it and it was worth going round with the crowds as I remembered how much I appreciate his work. Aside from criticising his view of women, how many men in late 19th early 20th century women weren’t scared of us? or the fact that he seems to assume that by the early 20th century women had become emancipated, I was again struck and moved by some of the series and by his way of working. That is not to mention the use of paint and, especially, colour.

A few years ago I remember going to 2 exhibitions in Tate Modern with a friend. The first was Damien Hirst which was impressive but we wisked round it and left feeling somewhat empty. The final pieces were the gold wallpaperlike things and I clearly remember my friend comparing them to an airport she had been at (one of the emirates?). Perhaps that was Hirst’s intention. We then walked a few meters and entered the Munch which the curator at the Tate had presented with similar motifs facing one another. These series not series impressed me at the time and, I felt, put Hirst in perspective. Was this just about painting? Did I just respond more to him because I too paint and the sensuality of the media seduces me? In part it definately does. But other media also have weight for me. In the case of Munch it was also about his way of working from piece to piece and the idea of the motif, of not moving on whilst there was more to do.

In the Thyssen the work was arranged in sections which included paintings and prints and were labelled with a word such as ‘Melancholy’ or ‘panic’. They kind of ran out of these and ended with genres such as nudes but for me that did not matter so much. It meant that one tended to choose the motifs which resonate with us and spend more time with them. There are several of these which are very potent and all were interesting from the point of working through ideas. In particular I was drawn to the back views which always fascinate me. The Lonely ones which are a man and a woman gazing into the distance together but separate they are the modern malaise of the impossibility of understanding each other and alienation whilst up close. I remember a late night movie review of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and a reviewer talking about how Gregory Peck acted with his back. These backs say far more than many a face. They also evoke Bonnard’s lovers post sex unable to relate to each other.

However, perhaps the most important thing I took away from the crowded gallery is the not moving on from the motif. We all feel compelled to develop by moving on and it seems that Munch went much further by not doing so by staying with the idea and the feeling and exploring it more deeply.



Display: Hiroshima screens Iri and Toshi Maruki

iri and Toshi MAruki

As I have been experimenting with the display of fabrics and currently have 3 experiments with calico and stretchers, a bed frame and muslin and Korean paper and muslin on stretchers I was immediately interested in these screens. They all tell the tragic story of hiroshima in traditional Japanese screens that remind me of a concertina style book. The artists actually visited Hiroshima just after the bomb was dropped and painted them a few years after. These types of images were banned in the US but the article announces an exhibition in New York.

screens hiroshima

This display reminds me of an exhibition I saw in The Matadero in Madrid in 2010 by the Chinese artist Miao Xiaochun. This was digital art based on Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights. It was also illuminated, if I remember correctly, from behind. The panel’s here are more like a series of triptychs, like Bosch’s which is like an altarpiece although it is disputed whether it was actually used as such. I really like these ideas. Although I also remember Monika’s suggestion of hanging pieces facing each other in a kind of dialogue – that really struck a chord. I think freestanding panels would also work best although I am having trouble trying to work out how to make them.


Miao Xiaochun


Villaverde Industrial Estate

At the end of the year I chose to focus on one of the industrial estates which is used for prostitutes on the streets. There are in fact several on the outskirts of Madrid. The visits are problematic as I didn’t feel free to wonder around on foot. I therefore borrowed a car and sketched and filmed mainly from inside the car. This meant that my understanding of the site is more limited. The people who make this a place of prostitution are mostly on foot. From the documentaries I have watched they work there as they are independent and earn more money although the risk is higher than working in a bar/club, they get to keep their earnings. A lot of the women interviewed had been abused, some more seriously than others. Following my own methodology I need to make contact with the organisations I am following on twitter:Colectivo Hetaira andPutasIndignadas. These are groups organised by sex workers who wish to claim their rights as such.

These images give some idea of the space in which some are working, it is particularly empty as we are in the middle of the winter break but also because I chose to go in the middle of the day and whilst there is light to make images. In reality a lot of this work happens at night when you cannot see these wide open spaces. I chose this space in a way because it is less visible in a city where prostitution is less hidden than in other parts of Europe.

villa v

villaverde ??

villaverde ?villaverde

Bellas Durmientes (Sleeping Beauties)

This project which began in 2007 uses art to fight violence against women. Through the ‘antimuseo’ the artist María María Acha-Kutscher coordinates the collaborative project. Each person or group receives a sticker with the name and date of death of a woman killed in an act of domestic violence in Spain their ‘Sleeping Beauty’. I am no. 596 and my sleeping beauty was shot by her partner in Alicante in 2010. We I received my sticker I was struck by a sense of responsibility to this person. I always knew that statistics had a very limited effect, this one person became real (even though they are, of course, anonymous). I decided that I wanted to make some kind of a ritual for her less. I felt that if I painted or drew I might be drawn towards illustration and even if I were to illustrate something fictitious it lacked ritual and because this is essentially an internet project it would lack any physical presence in the virtual world.

I therefore chose to lay her to rest in a nest, to symbolically give her back the care and nurturing she had deserved in her life. The nest was made with recycled natural materials so it will become part of the land. This connection to an anonymous person felt heavy and made the political seem more real and less abstract.

Sleeping Beauties