Summer Project: Our Names Fit Us Better Than We Fit Each Other

This summer my work has been geared towards a group exhibition, “Intimate”, at the Centrespace gallery in Bristol, that I am taking part in. The show will run from the 18th-25th August and will show the work of 6 young artists, exploring intimacy and personal subjects.

I have been working on the theme of relationship anarchy and possessiveness, stemming from the decision of myself and my current boyfriend to reject the standard of monogamous, romantic relationships. He is leaving the country for a year soon and we have both realised that we don’t want to be someone’s “girlfriend” or “boyfriend”, we want to completely reject the notion of a stereotypical romantic partner and instead interact with people individually in a way that feels right for us. I have produced an A2 photographic print of a field of wildflowers, a large A frame signboard with neon words “OUR NAMES FIT US BETTER THAN WE FIT EACH OTHER” on one side, and “I HAVE EVERYTHING I NEED” on the other side. These will be displayed as an installation, with the sign stood up in the centre of the gallery and the neon lights on, the print laying on the floor in front of one side and on the other side there will be a smashed vase stuck together with glitter glue (from my kinstugi project) and a single red rose. The words on the sign represent how my name means “messenger” and my boyfriend’s name means “wanderer”. My initial plan for the installation was to have more components; such as my name in Hebrew (the language it originates from) on a “My name is:” sticker, a painting, a copy of Virginia Woolf’s ‘Orlando’ and dried/pressed flowers. Instead I decided to keep my concept clear and not to over work it with clutter.

I started off by researching the work of artists such as Petra Collins and the Ardorous Collective, which has influenced the work I have created for the exhibition aesthetically. Since making the piece, I have realised that this trend of young (mainly white, cis) female artists is in fact quite boring, the style is overdone and the concept is lacking, tending to explore female sexuality and body image. I have realised that this work (as well as the work I am currently working on) pleases me, but does nothing more. It doesn’t excite me. I have made myself comfortable. There is no escaping the fact, however, that my work is very similar to the artists of Arduous (such as Arvida Bystrom), although they are mainly photographers. I have used floral, feminine elements and glitter, with neon- things that regularly appear in their work. Even the film I have been planning to accompany the installation, a essay read by me over footage of feet walking though fields, blah blah blah. Again I have been producing work that I feel comfortable doing, and now I have realised that I know what I have to do next. I need to go in the opposite direction. I need to work out what makes me scared and go there. I have changed my idea for the film to make it more interesting (shorter, the essay reduced to a few lines of prose(?), and including footage of the meteor shower, which I saw last night and will go out tonight again to film), as before my concept for it was influenced by Petra Collins films, particularly the one she did for the Tate’s Georgia o’Keefe exhibition. It doesn’t help that the work of my friends in the “Intimate” is very similar to the work of the Ardorous, and I think that in order for our art to make a cohesive exhibition I wanted to follow their aesthetic. Hopefully by starting at Central St Martins in September I will be inspired by the new people around me and can break out of this rut I am feeling.

I think I was drawn their work because I wanted to be them – they get articles in Dazed and i-D and I want that, but I have this problem of getting stuck trying to do work I think I should do rather than what I need to do to push myself artistically, and now I think that to push myself artistically I have to work on my painting. Abstract painting terrifies me. I love looking at these pieces, but I can never do them myself. I can’t. Or maybe I’ve just never tried. Or maybe I just think I should do them, and I’m back to where I started. The key difference here, however, is that it makes me uncomfortable, and it excites me a little bit, which is why I think I should do it next. Furthermore, I have never done this before. I have been looking at female artists, such as Fiona Rae, Meghan Rooney, Eva Papamargariti, and Charlotte Duale. Once I have finished my film I will be doing paintings. Maybe by the time I start my course I will realise that this is not how I can push myself, and I will find something else to do. But until then I need something to work on.

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