Labour of Love Caroline Jupp!labour-of-love/cee5

Another Labour of Love that I was not aware of. A residency in London’s Queen Elizabeth Park. Escanear (1)

Artist Caroline Jupp was resident in a shed in the park for 3 months in 2014-5.!labour-of-love/cee5

Studio Assistants

I needed to cover this in my MA2 contextual study but unless I miraculously manage to do an amazing super edit I do not have the words. Many artists working in a site specific way have assistants or teams or employ others on some type of a contract to help them with recording or setting up etc. I looked at Francis Alys and the way he documents his work – or the way others document it. There are also the police involved in ‘Los Barranderos’, where the road sweepers make a line with the garbage in Mexico DF and move it along the streets in the middle of the night. I think he needed the police because of the police in this case.

In Julie Mehretu’s practice she has a whole team of assistants making the different layers of her work and varnishing and polishing it according to instructions. I am not able to pay assistants but I have considered labour swapping with other artists.

During the open studios on 7th and 8th May I was thinking of getting someone to cover my studio so I could get off and meet more people. I was also considering using the ‘Artistas del Barrio’ platform to do some kind of labour exchange.

The Wolf Man and Mark Wallinger at the Freud Museum 27th July.

As a part of my plan to visit museums I have never been to in London, especially smaller collections, I went to the Freud Museum at the end of July. I had heard that contemporary artists have been invited to intervene in the space and collection at Freud’s house in London. During my visit I was also impressed by the wolf paintings made by Freud’s patient Sergei Pankejeff years after he had been after a significant patient of Freud who had used his dream of the wolves in his research. Pankejeff had a recurring dream as a child of 6 or 7 wolves sitting in a tree outside his bedroom. The paintings which were made many years later have only 5 wolves in the tree but I found them very compelling and arresting as images. I am not sure if this is due to their naivety or the content as significant dreams, something that Freud obviously expanded on and which gives them a kind of power.



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Mark Wallinger’s intervention in Freud’s last house in London where he lived as an exile for the last year of his life. Wallinger has covered the wall above the therapist’s couch with mirrors and plays with the role of the therapist of reflecting the client’s mind on itself. This mirror above the couch creates an illusion of space and light above us all. It also give the room an amazing verticality. I have not been in the room without the mirrors but the reflection is very powerful. The action of the window cleaner feels like a task which is complimentary to the work of the therapy/patient. The reflection of the couch alluding to the ‘magical’ effect of therapy.

The Freud Museum’s website

The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class

Working-Class Perspectives

Across the world, more and more people realize they are in the precariat – or may be soon – and that they are not alone. That is bringing a change of mood, from being defeated and dispirited to being defiant and demanding. Old sociologists may be bewildered, but precariat groups are moving from mass occupations to political re-engagement. They know there is no unified working class and do not want to go back in search of a phoney unity. We need an alternative progressive future, forged for and by the precariat.

Most fundamentally, the 20th century income distribution system has collapsed. The share of income going to profits has rocketed and will continue to rise, the share going to rent will rise even more. Real wages will continue to stagnate.

In pursuit of competitiveness, governments have implemented policies of labor flexibility, making labor more insecure, leaving millions without health…

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La Corrala 2017

I wrote a proposal for this space in my street (which belongs to the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) and contains a museum of Popular Culture. I had a meeting with them yesterday and it looks like this might actually happen next year. The site specific installation is not possible but I am really pleased with the way they will let me hang the work. The smaller drawings and paintings will be on the smaller walls.

But I can hang the fabric hangings between the columns on poles so they can be seen both sides. This I find really exciting as did the representatives of the university. They will be seen from both sides and look more like the sheets in the patio which is what I originally wanted.

Now I have 2 months free of teaching commitment and I need to use this very wisely. Some short breaks and a making/ reading routine. I need to push the work on a lot before September when I will be juggling again. Feeling  very pleased as I start the summer as I have a pile of books and a list of tasks. I will work mornings and evenings (with the odd evening off) as the afternoon is too hot. Depending how long I sleep in the afternoon I can work til quite late. I might also have some paid examining work next week (Enquiries Upon Results) which would be great. My starting points are:

  • make the kits for @laborolove
  • tools of the trade (drawings of objects used for work / not work)
  • La Corrala
  • Use found furniture to experiment with the screens etc possibly bring the idea of the domestic into the work

Maybe something more personal and research Barnsley too as if we have our exhibition there I should react to it and I have never been (closest I have got is Sheffield I think).

Today I leave for a few days in the South and I shall organise and read a bit then back to the studio. I am quite excited !

The ‘corralas’ were where many people in my neighbourhood lived when they moved from the countryside to work in the factories, especially the cigarette factory and the slaughterhouse. People lived in the flats above which looked out onto a patio where people hung their washing. Below there were small businesses such as carpenters and horses. They are known for giving a sense of community for those who had left the villages. They were also small and crowded and many were glad to move out to larger apartments further from the center when new barrios were built.

@laborolove in the Transition Gallery


The @laborolove postcards are in an exhibition called Europa which reflects on what it is to be European at the Transition Gallery in Hackney London. This is a subject close to my heart as I feel more of a european than any national identity. I have decided this blog is really useful and will carry it on through the summer – now that I caught up with the backlog of other ‘work’. If I don’t get through MA2 I suppose this will have to be elsewhere but I do find it useful and the Summer is when I have most time to work.

First summer task is to resubmit a proposal for 2017 for the ‘corrala’ a museum of ‘folk’ art (artes populares) in my street. There is a gallery downstairs and they accept proposals. They wrote to me this week asking questions about my work as I sent them a proposal last year for 2016 but was too late. Apart from this we are all waiting…waiting to find out if UK stays in Europe, waiting for the MA results and waiting to see if we get a good government in the Spanish general elections – all this next week.

Open Studios 7-8th May

This is a biannual event in my neighbourhood. Unfortunately this year it coincided with the MA2 digital subission date for written work. However I really didn’t want to miss it as I believe it is a really positive experience for everyone concerned and it also allows you to get feedback from a direct audience. Of course the display cannot be ideal and how you would really like it to be but that is understood by all. There are also dead hours (around and just after lunchtime) but you can carry on painting at those times. There are also those moments when someone loves a painting you are considering painting over and dislikes most of what you do (although they are more polite than that). It also gives you a lot of practice of talking things through and at times see your work in a new light.

The most interesting conversations I had were about the work in the streets which people had seen and realised it was mine. They were all a bit disappointed it had lasted such short amounts of time as some lived very close to it. I also discovered that the ‘work’ roles need to be very clear in the street aIMG_0882rt. The visual language of the street is quite different to that of the gallery or more typical art space. The woman on the phone for example is  ambiguous and looks like she might be an executive. I always felt that she was probably a mother / sex worker who possibly did some cleaning etc… However that ambiguity probably doesn’t work or at least does not fit in with the rest of the project.

I also showed the bed frame piece upright which made a great space divider and, although still unfinished I continued to work on it during the weekend.

Lastly I would like to get in touch with some more of the artists on the route as soon as MA submission of actual work is over. I know a few of them but not well and it is an excellent way of meeting artists who are working in my area. There are a lot of new studios which have opened since 2014.

Back to submitting….


Spidertag – street to gallery?


Spidertag is mainly known for his ‘spider’s webs’ which he makes in public places using nails and wool. What is special about the work is that these ‘webs’ using wool are often in abandoned buildings and have a special textural materiality to them. I respond to both the sites and the textures. I know the work mainly through videos in which an assistant videos him making the work on site. There is also a great variety of still digital images of this work online.

Last week he opened an exhibition in a local gallery so I went along to see how he would deal  with the street to more traditional space. The gallery, Swinton & Grant, has a reputation for working with street artists and I have recently been trying to make a relationship with them and @laborolove via twitter with only moderate success so far. The gallery is a very typically white but certainly no cube. It is downstairs beneath a bookshop/bar. The pieces would actually have been at home in a white cube. Although the materials suggest a connection to the artist’s history, wood from palettes and the signature wool and nails, the site responsive nature is totally lost and the objects, whilst aesthetically pleasing, have an almost art for art’s sake quality. The objects are pleasing to look but they have lost something and most barely interact with the space.

spidertag swinton and grant

There was one of Spidertag’s videos of the site specific making playing on a screen, however this was largely being ignored as it was almost hidden under the stairs. Maybe Spidertag’s site specific work responds only to the formal qualities of the site and therefore the gallery site is what it is, a shop? In the exhibition text he is very clear about the interest in abstraction, geometry and colour and makes specific reference to balance, straight lines and diagonals. This suggests that his interaction with forgotten places and abandoned villages might be aesthetic rather than interest in the abandonment. One of the main reasons I was drawn to this work was his choice of sites and the weight of their pasts. 

This exhibition raised several questions for me and my own practice, some of which are related to the points I mentioned in my post about Blu. The first is about the relationship of the work in the site and in the gallery site – to what extent can it retain the ideas and still be a commercial interest to a gallery. In the case of Spidertag I don’t think he is claiming to do this. I am questioning the ethics of the gallery space like many artists before me. Even galleries who represent artists who are critical of the artworld are part of it. They are essentially selling the work which criticises them or does their approval negate the criticism and expose the artist as compliant with the system.