Friday, 20th March 2020 at 9.30 with Jonathan Kearney.
This was a very unusual tutorial. It was a very personal and untypically long deep conversation in definitely extraordinary circumstances. We were both deeply concerned about a continuously expanding pandemic and all its brutal implications on all contexts of our life.
The current situation is unprecedented and overwhelming. It has an enormous impact on all aspects of our existence. Therefore, it would be at least arrogant to assume that I had no radical influence on my creative intentions and the direction of my visual interrogation.
I have explained to Jonathan the sensitivities involved in my research journey so far. Subsequently, we discussed the sudden and unexpected turn in my project, which is deeply routed in the power of the Coronavirus.
All previously taken for granted status quo had to be refined and re-evaluated. This process continues and builds up on speed. The certainty of the past has become the opposite, possibly the most uncertain. Right has changed to wrong and vice versa. The world as we know it has been turned upside down and brutally destroyed. This overpowering situation has a pivotal impact on the way, in which we live and perceive the surrounding Universe. This radical change has vulgarly and violently twisted every context and area of our inhabitation of the Earth.
My current observation is that people around the world are anxiously waiting for the return to their old hypnotic routines. They beg for entrapment and look forward to going back to their previous existence.
Subsequently, we have focused on discussing the impact of this global crisis on our final show and the arts in general. The main issue is to rethink how to display the work in a virtual environment. The idea is to try to reinforce the meaning of the project. My biggest worry was to avoid diluting my intentions and messages.
I explained to Jonathan that I would not like for the form to unnecessarily overgrow the broader meaning of my visual investigation. We continued to elaborate on a number of possibilities. Jonathan suggested that I should consider editing my films together to create an entirely new piece. Therefore, I would take my current work to a completely new level. I argued that I was attempting to avoid producing a media film, rather than a video artefact. This part of our debate was very stimulating and thought provoking. I made a number of notes – a photograph of this page in my sketchbook is included at the top of this post.
Finally, I pointed out at an exhibition of work by Emily Prince, which I saw at the Saatchi Gallery. She dealt with a visual portrayal and organisation of a large sample of data. Her drawings were colour coded, structured and displayed in two separate formats: daily columns of deaths and the map of the USA indicating the origin of killed soldiers.
I could employ a similar approach and continue filming the process of washing of my paintings. This would result in a large projection split into a large number of individual screens.
I also referred to the painstaking and methodical approach employed by Roman Opalka. He photographed himself every day for 45 years, while wearing the same shirt and and holding identical facial expression. This was in addition to the series of his Counted Paintings, from 0 to infinity. I included his quote as his words are of a special significance today.
Roman Opalka (1931-2011)
“Time as we live it and as we create it embodies our progressive disappearance; we are at the same time alive and in the face of death–that is the mystery of all living beings. The consciousness of this inevitable disappearance broadens our experiences without diminishing our joy. There is always the omnipresent idea of nature, of its ebb and flow of life. This essence of reality can be universally understood; it is not only mine but can be commonly shared in our unus mundus.”
Roman Opalka – “Rencontre par la séparation”, AFAA, Paris, 1987
My ultimate plan is to project three videos. Additionally, I would also like to restreatch the washed paintings onto their original frames and include them in my exhibition.
However, in response to the rapidly evolving and changing global crisis, I have decided to continue to evolve my ideas. My ultimate creative intention is to formulate a response, which is the most current, insightful and communicate the intrinsic qualities of my work and thinking.
I am focusing on the development of work with a strong feel of the zeitgeist. This is to elevate my role as an artist and to respond to the current issues, which affect our society in a dramatic and powerful way. I would like for my work to be an intelligent, though provoking and erudite comment. My pieces are the leader of critical analysis of reality. They point at and identify new ways of embracing our fragile lives in the context of devastating change. I am an observer of our history being made out there, here and now!
After all, we are travelling through space on a piece of rock; simultaneously spinning around and rotating at a great speed. Our existence is bizarre and impossible to imagine for an outsider.
Let’s hope that our journey is allowed to continue, develop, prosper and flourish!
Tutorial ended at 11.20