Saturday, 6 August 2011

Keeping It Simple

On the 17th July I returned to Issigeac for the “Foire aux Paniers” and to get first hand evidence of the public reaction to the exhibition of my latest work “Tri and Leaf”.

Unusually, I had total control over how my work was presented in this beautiful space, an opportunity I welcomed, and I chose to keep it deliberately sparse in text and not to use any plinths. The audience were only given simple labels with just the date of making and a description, in French, of the materials used, as it is not always evident that they are re-used, recycled or grown materials.

Lid hat
Now, more than ever before, I want my work to speak for itself. The visual and the literal are two distinct languages and whilst I absolutely believe that one can inform and interact with the other, when I make my work I make it with a visual imperative. If it doesn’t work visually it doesn’t work for me, no matter how many words I may write about it and I therefore want the onlooker to experience what they see and feel (because they always touch my work) unencumbered by my written words, which are far less adept than my ability to manipulate materials.

So, the only texts I provided at Issigeac were the simple labels and a copy of the “Urban Baskets” catalogue for people to look at if they felt so inclined. No name panels, no biography, no 'artists statements' and perhaps even more importantly now, for me, no price lists as the work was not for sale. This has been coming for a long time, but now I feel strong enough to do it, perhaps because I am old enough. My reasons for this decision are too complicated to discuss here, so it will be a separate post, essay or book!

Although I didn’t want to burden the visitors to ‘Tri and Leaf’ with text panels I did want to know what they thought of the exhibition. So, I provided them an opportunity to write words if they so wished by placing a school exercise book and a pen on the table which remained there for the last two weeks of the exhibition.
On Wednesday of this week I went back to Issigeac to take down the exhibition and read their comments. If you click on the picture below you can read for yourself some of the things that were said.

As for the Foire, I hardly had a chance to look at it but RenĂ© Parachout was there again with his lovely baskets and it was nice to catch up with some friends in the basket making world.

Rene Parachout
If anyone reading this fancies exhibiting basket related works in this beautiful space during the month of July they should contact the Tourist Office at Issigeac as they are open to proposals.

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