In the Post (2016 – )
21cm x 10cm x 6cm
(baked porcelain clay, ribbon, cardboard and pigment)
You make work, and to complete it, it must be seen. With a structured career you may be invited to show work, but with a non-linear output, you may take your chance with an ‘Open Call’.
Early in 2016, an interesting proposition came from a Gallery in Hackney, East London.
I responded to the very specific criteria, because it dovetailed with a piece of work I had ‘simmering’.
The work both ‘fitted’, and developed, in relationship to the demands of the curators of the Exhibition.
“SIXTY is a curated two-part exhibition in London and Athens predicated on notions of arbitrary political constraints. Sixty works of art will be selected by different decision-making bodies and individuals, including a public vote, and subject to a variety of processes and criteria — physical, financial and political — testing the ability of artist and curator to navigate within structures offering both real and illusory choices and opportunities.”
(Artists were invited to the above to submit artworks in any medium by posting through the gallery’s letterbox. The internal dimensions of the letterbox were 6cm by 24.5cm. All artworks received in this way were displayed in the gallery from 13 to 22 May 2016. The public were invited to vote for their favourite sixty works.)
Making Work (to fit Arbitrary Criteria).
The Call for this two-part Exhibition, held in both London and Athens, was interesting for the constraints of size and subject imposed by the curators. The work had to initially pass through a designated letterbox and was to consider the parameters of ”arbitrary political constraint”.
Since there are surely no more arbitrary constraints placed upon people than those of ‘feminine’ gender, I decided to reference the struggle for woman’s suffrage in my contribution. The three words, in that iconic hand drawn script, were imprinted on a hand made porcelain brick.
The brick had to fit through a letterbox.
Bricks had had to be thrown at windows by the Suffragettes.
Peaceful protests made by the women, driven to an uncomfortable mild disobedience, had been ignored. A reluctant campaign of militancy was eventually begun, but stones and bricks, thrown through windows, were usually tied up and constrained with long string, so that only the glass would break, thereby causing no harm to anyone inside.
My brick was to be gently posted, not lobbed through a window.
Hand made, hand delivered, not purchased and sent by Amazon!
The hoped-for destination Greece.
Intended delivery point Athens, home of democracy.
Would it be voted for?
The answer was to be … ‘In the Post’.
THE IMMEDIATE RESPONSE
My piece went to London, but not to Athens, in spite of my best effort to ‘answer the question’.
(I had wondered, when the work was being packaged for delivery, whether to flout the rules of the Call, and send the brick through the window rather than politely posting it through the letterbox.)
Could I have made it prettier, could I have made it mean more?
What is the fate of an Artwork ‘moulded’ for a particular curated Exhibition?
THE CONSIDERED RESPONSE
Artworks are always a ‘found’ objects.
You make work and it means something, then, “events happen”, and it means something else, without you having to do anything.
The previous year a crucial Referendum in Greece, and on the 13th May 2016, a crucial Referendum in the United Kingdom.
One in, one out.
So …… the “Summer Salon”, and another OPEN CALL at the same Gallery.