Notes on the Pecha Kucha presentation:
I had found an abandoned nest years ago and always returned to drawing it as a strong symbol of potential for nurturing and growth. I love the way birds make nests with whatever they can find a bit like artists.
I have an old sketchbook which has drawings of dead unborn baby birds and nests. Every year lots of little birds don’t make it. I found the vulnerability of the birds very moving. So I made the precarious nature of the nests more obvious by putting them on sticks.
The nests on sticks became an etching from about 2005. This image has stayed with me but I felt I wanted to make it 3D Here the nests are floating I felt I wanted to stick them in the ground. That way they are vulnerable but rooted: a bit like my ideas.
I began experimenting and decided to use materials that are easily available a bit like a bird, for one of the first experiment I used papier maché and twigs. Remembering Angela’s video and the dots I wanted to make the mind map using a repetitive making process.
I also experimented with plaster and other materials I had lying around, here twigs but also nails, screws or string. This was way quicker and easier but less ecological or reflective. Maybe it was too quick and taking time is good.
After several drafts I started making the nests according to this plan. There are three main sections originally called:History Painting, Drawing and Painting and materials I wanted these big themes to be bigger nests but here is no center or order of reading it.
In the studio I started setting out the first section, materials. With this one I tried to symbolise the ideas. I added some things I had lying around the studio: a spring and large papiermaché egg for 3D. For materials I added a variety of eggs; ecology shreaded documents; a type of handle to portability and left the economy one as really simple. Sensuality shows finger marks as part of the texture along with plastic tubing. However I needed the earth to make it.
I chose to make the full map outside, especially as I had added sticks to many of the nests they needed to go in the ground. This meant a trip to the school where I work as there is a garden.
This is the materials section again. When I put together the whole map outside I added a temporary ‘nest’ to portability which also attaches to mail art and Eugenio Dittborn.
The 3D nest became really important to the map and the string added to the form. I used the 3D nest to connect materials to the drawing and painting section. The ‘tension ‘ nest became a key concept to connect this to drawing and painting. This is really interesting as several of these issues keep cropping up and so I gave them a place in the map even if I don’t really use them in my work at the moment I keep coming back to them.
This shows how the materials and drawing and painting sections are connected through the tension (and textiles) and also how the portability nest is crucial in connecting to temporary nest and also the mail art nest which is flying through the air on a bent stick. These are all issues I have been considering a lot recently. They have come out of reading ‘Art and Today’ and from feeling overwhelmed by the weight of work I have carried around with me. (this section now feels incomplete).
This slide focuses on the drawing and painting section. This is probably the least developed and I could have pushed it further. In addition to the textiles nest we can see negative space, ‘The Object of Painting’ (Foucault) which I read recently. I also added three nests for artists who I feel help me with painting and drawing: Marlene Dumas, Edvard Munch and Alice Neel, although there are obviously many many more these are very important recurring influences.
These are the artists who work in the area of the tension somewhere between what is painting and what is not. Initially these were Angela de la Cruz. Lucio Fontana and Frank Stella. But I then changed them to Eva Hesse, Anselm Keifer and Rose Garrard. They are constantly changing but represent the artists who push this boundary in a way that I relate to.
Histories was initially called history painting as that is where I started with all this. However, I decided the common factor as closer to history and history painting became one aspect of this. After reading Histories of Art I felt the plural might be important too. This view shows histories connecting to histories of art and all the authority which goes with it (both on high elevated sticks). On the other side we look at narratives which make up the history. There are narratives, my narrative and the audience (and implicitly their narratives). from the audience we also have the excluded and they are nestled in between history of art and authority.
Narratives an area which is really compelling. I found myself interlinking all the areas and maybe I could have gone even further with this. (my own, the audience, the excluded etc)
Excluded: this can include both artists excluded from the histories and therefore left between history and art and authority but underneath and less connected. They are also excluded from the narratives and this may be more important to the development of my own work. They could also be those who feel excluded from being part of an audience for art. They are represented with chains.
Empty spaces: the other arm of history is empty spaces: this include the writtings of Gaston Bachelard – the poetry of domestic spaces, abandoned buildings which is where I want to work at the moment and a special Luc Tymans nest. After completing and dismantling the nest I regretted not including Alselm Keifer.
Space and connections. Making the map allowed me to see the ideas I was exploring in a new way. I was particularly pleased with introducing the 3rd dimension. The height element allowed me to look at the map from many different perspectives. Linking the nests using string was a real learning experience. I began to change everything. I could have continued with this a lot longer adding a wider variety of connections and varying the string by weight or color.
For example this little nest became attached to the portability aspect of the work. In the final map it was attached to mail art and that is a logical place for it to be. It was initially called folding and I thought a lot about this after seeing Eugenio Dittborn’s work. It could however change the name and the way works could be packaged in order to send. In the end I liked the way the nests were not directly named it allowed me to develop the ideas they represented. Maybe words don’t help me to describe this idea.
Two views of the ‘final’ map. I did not want to stop there but we ran out of time. I am now surrounded by the nests and have a bunch at home and at work. I am keeping them out of the studio for now. I would have liked to have added more links different strings etc……
View from History
final explanation of the last version for the Pecha Kucha I redrew the final version adding words to explain how the meanings changed. It still feels very provisional. I will develop in the studio so that I can use it.