The studio clear out continues and this was in one of the boxes: the cremated remains of a swan that made it all the way from Siberia only to die on arrival at its breeding grounds on the Severn Estuary. That swan has been flying in my imagination ever since. I know what she looked like, her unique markings, her life history; and I know I need to make an artwork out of this precious bag of carbon.
A polaroid from our first year at the RCA. Meet Mr Samuel Kaliski, micro-gallery owner and art shark. He cruised the waters of the RCA offering shows in his Demandesque space. As if struck by a tsunami of indecision, many artworks at the time were ‘Untitled’, and so it is with Adam’s current venture Untitled Motorcycles.
The studio clearout continues, as do the memories. Proust had his madeleine; I’ve got the these work trousers, which take me back to 1998 and my residency at Gloucester cathedral. Working with natural latex again, this time to make a large installation, ‘The Words to Say It’, covering the whole of the crypt. For weeks on end the studio stank of ammonia, used to stop the latex setting too quickly when exposed to air. My jeans became encrusted as I worked away, and the smell of ammonia seared through my brain throughout that winter!
Self portrait: looking back at myself from 1992. [I am just embarking upon a complete studio clearout, and have already come across this. Well, over the next few weeks this process is going to be one hell of a trip down memory lane, so thought I might share it with you as I go along. In any case, I’m not going to be producing new work until this is done. Deep breath…]
At school, I was never as keen on chemistry as I was on biology. However these days, the more I read about the ecological damage that we are doing to our planet the more it seems that it is chemistry that will undo us in the end. The changes will be subtle, apparently minuscule, but crucial. So as we acidify our oceans, the chemistry used by the coccolithophores to construct their elaborate protective shells turns to ’emperor’s clothes’. Chemistry, not being so far removed from biology, then makes <this Radiolab podcast> breathless listening.