I have now completed a drawn reiteration of Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights. For now, I’ll leave the image here (and if you click on it you’ll be taken to a larger version so that you can have a better look). In time I will add a written reflection, but for now you can enjoy the picture.
Last year I collaborated with Chris Graham on a complex and disorienting installation at Bank Street Arts that was eventually called Sans Terre / +. The work sprang from a re-consideration of Théodore Géricault’s painting The Raft of the Medusa in terms of the then burgeoning refugee crisis.
After the installation was dismantled we began work on documenting the work in book form. What began as a record of something that had passed soon sprouted legs of its own and became an altogether new work. The images that accompany this post are details of the books.
The books – a printed collision of an arms catalogue and photographs of the installation as well as fragments of the source material that inspired it – have been extensively reworked by hand with paint, ink, scissors, and collage, and have become a visceral reworking of the source material and a new work that reflects the complexities of migration, terrorism, the military-industrial complex, exploitation of the Third World, Beyoncé, depleted Uranium, art, Disney, Gorgons, drone strikes, and spray paint.
On August 12-13th a Bank Street micro-exhibition will re-present elements of the installation and provide a platform for launching these books which will be available to buy for £25 each. If you want to pre-order one, look at the Sans Terre / + Facebook page. Search for @artiscomplicit
The ‘+’ in the title of the work is a deliberate allusion to the idea of ‘more’. For this iteration of the project we will be joined by Richard Bolam who has created a film that uses a film he made last August of us in the space when the installation was nearing completion but also includes material from other sources and images from the new books. This film is an integral part of the new show.
Join Sans Terre / + for the launch of these books. There will be a performance / reading at some point during the show (details to be confirmed).
Admission is free
Friday 12th August: 11am – 4pm
Saturday 13th August: 11am – 4pm
Banks Street Arts, Bank Street, Sheffield
I have produced a version of my PhD thesis using the print-on-demand publishers lulu.com. Because there are some images in it that are not mine I am selling it at cost price (just under six quid plus p+p). I will not be making any money on it, but have been asked by several friends and colleagues if it will be available, so here it is. Click on this link and you’ll be taken to the right page (I hope). You should also be able to buy it from your ‘local’ version of lulu if you aren’t in the UK.
The submitted thesis is accompanied by three other publications, two of which are available commercially, 365drawings and After After… The third title – Interviews – is not available commercially as I promised my interlocutors that it was ‘appendix material’. If, however you have an academia.edu account you can find them all under my name.
It’s been a while since I posted anything here and I thought I ought to remedy that.. These three small drawings (each is about 10cm square I think) are all based on pictures people posted of their studios. The first was an impromptu bed, I think, the others are more obviously connected with making. I thought I’d make a lot of these (and may yet continue as the studio fascinates me as a place where work is done and tried out and junked and so on), but have been distracted. However, if something catches my eye – my basic criteria for drawing anything – you may see more of them.
Avid readers of this blog will know that I started making a large (240cm x 120com) 72 panel drawing of Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights at the end of last year. I feel like I’m rounding the last bend. As I write this post, there’s still sixteen panels to go, but after finishing three yesterday, it seems likely I’ll get this done within twelve months of starting it.
Shown here is the up-to-date version of the work, with the ‘to do’ panels greyed out. If you click on the image you can see a much more detailed iteration of the drawing so far.
Over the past few months I have been drawing a large multi-panelled version of Picasso’s Guernica. I saw the original painting as an undergraduate in the Prado in, I think, 1986. It was an important moment for me. I still have a stack of postcards I bought that day that show Picasso’s thinking.
As with other drawings I’ve made, the image is made up of small panels (in this case 20cm x 20 cm) and then assembled. Click on the image for a look at a larger version of the file. The image above is a digital assemblage made from scans of my drawings. You can see that lines and shapes are ruptured as I don’t refer to other panels to smooth out the image. I like that this evidence of my intervention is present. After all, I owe Picasso a lot. When assembled physically that squares aren’t quite so neat, being cut and measured by hand. When assembled the piece is 240cm x 120cm and will be a difficult piece to show.
As yet I have no firm plans to show the work in its own right, though it may get incorporated into a larger installation I am working on with Chris Graham.
It is for sale. If anyone wants to buy this, unframed, it’s yours for £8,000.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon in the National Gallery in London and made two drawings. I normally head to Caravaggio’s Supper at Emmaus and draw the guy on the right with his arms outstretched, but it was very busy so I headed off to see some other favourites. On the way to the room that contains Jan Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Marriage (1434) I stopped to draw Giovanni Bellini’s The Doge, Leonardo Loredan (1501). It’s a captivating painting (and used by the National Gallery on the cover of the official guide), but a little cold. The drawing I made reflects this. The subject is a bit ‘blank’ in my copy. The painting is incredibly subtle. There are some lines the indicate something more than a mask-like indifference but not much more. The result is a portrait of a powerful but calculating figure. He was Doge of Venice from 1501 until his death twenty years later, so I suspect he was a smart politician. There’s a short Wikipedia page about him, should you want read more.
After making this drawing (which I have subsequently worked on as it was a little underdone), I headed to the Van Eyck. It’s always a little congested around the Arnolfini Marriage as every tour group stops there. Hanging next to it is a portrait of a man with a turban that I’ve admired for years. It’s believed to be a self-portrait of Van Eyck, but look like an excuse to paint the turban to me.
I started my drawing by roughing the turban details in and gradually locked down more and more of the cloth. Only when I finished it did I start on the face. I had blocked in some areas of shade but deliberately left it undone as I wanted to focus my efforts on the headgear. As I worked I became aware of Van Eyck looking back at me. It became clearer and clearer that the look in the work was so different from the one by Leonardo Loredan and fixed by Bellini. Van Eyck’s gaze is more quizzical, less relaxed. It is the face of someone working, which would of course make sense if it is a self-portrait. All this led to me tackling the extremely subtle shading of the face. The painting is only 260 mm x 190 mm, a little smaller than A4, which is the size of sheet I worked on.
While I worked (on both drawings but especially on the Van Eyck) small scrums of people gather behind me to watch me. I was listening to a long playlist of punk records on my iPod, so can’t really relate what they may have said. A woman did take some photographs and has said that she’ll send some to me. As and when they appear, I’ll post them here.