We pulled off the M1 to spend some time at the wonderful Yorkshire Sculpture Park on our way back up north recently. If you get the chance to go- take it. Even if you do not ‘get’ big blocks of stone/bronze with cheese holes. There will be plenty more that will intrigue you…
I am addicted to words as my primary means of creative expression. Sure, I like to shape things from wood, but these efforts are not ‘art’. If anything they are therapy, with the wood shaping me as much as the other way round. The language of sculpture is one that intrigues me, but mostly excludes me. All the more reason to take some time in the midst of the sculpture park. We did not have enough time really- you need days, and we only had a couple of hours. We will return!
The Chinese dissident artist (are all artists not dissidents?) Ai Weiwei was given a space in and around the old estate chapel. His pieces included a room full of chairs and a giant tree cast in iron and loosely bolted together. They told a powerful story, even to a philistine like me, of a culture whose emphasis on the collective to the exclusion of individualism might have become a terrible heresy. The great famines and purges in which hundreds of millions of Chinese people have died or been imprisoned hangs over the art like a cloud.
See if you can work out what is happening in this shot…
or this one (it has not been photoshopped, honest!)
We are doing some work for installations to be used at Greenbelt festival– a combination of sculptural pieces and soundscapes/poetry. It is so lovely to be actually producing something- much of our work of late has been of the mental/community building kind.
There is an interesting old discussion which has at times been quite heated in Aoradh– what comes first, the task or the community? One of my friends actually left because he found the community bit too ambling and directionless- he wanted to get busy and use time efficiently. The business of community is rarely efficient. However, community for the sake of our selves, with no reaching out, no service, no connection- this would be a pointless thing, and certainly not a Jesus-like thing.
This years GB theme is ‘Saving Paradise’ and our part of contribution involves three pieces, representing sea, forest and river. We will use this in conjunction with soundscapes made in wilderness locations, along with poetry. These will be projected using ultrasonic speakers, which is a bit of tech that I am looking forward to playing with.
The sculptures are a bit trial and error, but here is the work so far- firstly the ‘Sea’ piece, which will have ‘sails’ attached;
Then there is the work that Pauline has done in designing some ‘flowers’ that will be attached to another piece of wood to represent ‘forest’. They look great- better than I had imagined they could be. Here is the prototype along with William for scale;
Praxis is the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted or practiced, embodied and/or realized.
You could say that it is all about getting your hands dirty.
I am on leave from my day job, so spent today day in my shed, making things.
And it was great- sawdust in my hair and things taking shape on a workbench.
I have come to love creating things out of bits of rubbish- driftwood, fallen branches, old rope. A lot of what I do is cerebral- it happens in an office and has little physical end product.
There is a point to this activity though- we have an embryonic craft co-operative, and my contribution is to be photographs and some sculptures made from ‘found’ objects.
So far I have enjoyed the making, but I have not got round to actually selling anything!
We missed the Tautoko pre-Greenbelt gathering last Thursday because we did not get down to Cheltenham in time. We had a bit of a disaster handing over William to Michaela’s dad. He had arranged to meet him near Stoke, but he got lost, so eventually we had to detour all the way across country.
Bless him, it felt like delivering a bit of baggage. Need to get a handle fitted…
I was already sad to miss the meet-up, as the Cathedral is such a wonderful place, but I have just heard that it was also a chance to get a preview of this-
Crucible is one of the largest and most important exhibitions of contemporary sculpture to take place in Britain during the past decade.
Over 70 works of art will be featured by many of Britain’s most renowned sculptors and internationally famous artists… Crucible will include sculptures by Sir Eduardo Palozzi, Lynn Chadwick, Antony Gormley and Damien Hirst. Some pieces have been sourced from private collections or specially loaned and several have been made especially for the exhibition. Many have never been seen in public before.
It will be open in Gloucester Cathedral for the next two months.
Go and see it
And think of me…