Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Some personal histories and some values

Over the last three year I’ve been forced to make and articulate some decisions about the ‘kind’ of artist I want to be and the values I want to uphold in my practice.

I absolutely love this extract written by Georg Herold:

I’ve had it with ritzy art. I want an art that looks like it has been through as much as I have. I don’t want something to impress people in the living room; I want art that doesn’t make me look shabby when I stand next to it. I want art that I look better than. I want art that’s a survivor. That used to be an asshole. That suffered, wised up, got over and then went on to become a stand up comedian or a parole officer.

I want art that looks like you wouldn’t believe the day it had. Maybe the work has a hang over and who can blame it. But you can’t say it’s not on the job and on time.

I want art that looks like it was beat up for doing the right thing. I like art that might rot if you’re not careful. I want art that could be fixed for not too much money if my ex-wife attacked it with a hammer…

I don’t want ritzy art.... It’s vain, can’t pass up a mirror. Only talks about itself. I’m not saying I want poor art. I want rich art. Triple cream. Big, fat, sweet and inflammable. Not ritzy. Just loaded.

I, too, want art that looks like it’s been through as much as I have. I grew up in South East Asia. I’ve lived in a lot of different buildings and like most third-culture kids struggle to identify any one place as home. For that reason I’m deeply interested in the concept of Home – with all its associations, the idealisms verses the realities.

Ironically, in all the moving between houses, the one place I really do (still) associate with and consider ‘home’ was attacked and burnt down in a religious war.

I’ve been deeply affected and even defined by my childhood experiences, particularly those of grieving the idealisms of home. Sometimes I find myself in a cross-cultural tension which arises from spending my formative years in a country with different way of doing life.

As a kid, plastic mass-produced, disposable-ness never meant much to me. Now I’m not sure what it should mean to me. You, the people around me, look across to a place without plastic-ness. It’s a life characterised by scarcity and simplicity. Not my life, but their lives. I don’t think you really understand it and you can’t be blamed. I imagine that it looks a bit empty to you, possibly even boring. Usually I feel like you think something is missing. I want to tell you otherwise. I want to take the old, worn, ragged walls that would have disposed of long ago and show you that they can be beautiful. I want to take what’s authentic and flaunt it in the face of all that is plastic and mass-produced. I want to pay tribute to them; I wish they were my people.

My art practice aims to confront the questions and issues that my life has raised – often questions without answers.

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