What’s happening? Where are things?
I’m at the beginning, where it should be. Panic, butterflies, pressure, and going back and forth.
Things are taking time (in my mind not fast enough!) as planning, application writing, and making, and planning, and research is happening at the same time. Finally, in the studio I now have space to play and daydream. A very different experience in the dark flat, though I’m sure traveling away I do the same as in a studio (though not in all studios). Two Queens I think is special. It’s quiet and I don’t mean with audio.
Playing with clay
Working with Dean Allen at Patchings Art Centre for two days in Nottingham was a real pleasure. I tried to explain to a lady in class why I was making a baby.
“It isn’t my baby no... I didn’t want to be a single mother no... yes, i’m sure I can be a single mother if I really wanted to and adopt. It’s from a dream....”
“It’s a dream....maybe an anxiety dream…”
“No I don’t suffer from anxiety....well it depends what’s happening…”
The dream was of a rotting lump in a hanging bandage. I looked closer inside and saw it was a baby rotting. The lump moved and I saw the baby was just barely alive.
I brought all my designs and ideas for the project. I explained to Dean that I brought drawings from dreams that I hope to develop in clay to later morph together as part of one sculpture. Its to explore some of the possibilities with the collective sculpture I am planning in August.
Decay, Death and Birth
December dream whilst in a rotten damp flat
Anyway, here is the birth of a clay creation.
......again and again and again making hands! Trying to get tutor’s skills - LEARNING the art of turning the clay, control and stop holding my breath!
It isn’t finished. Dean taught me loads about structures, artists and books to look at. I’ve learnt about hollowing the sculptures out and next week i’ll learn more techniques.
Vulnerability and Anxiety
How do we affect each other?
Things don’t exist in a vacuum
Can art be seen as a form of control and a 'fix' in a world that is, some what it seems at times anyway, out of our control?
The Argentinian Pavilion Venice Biennale, a large sculptural work by artist Claudia Fontes named The Horse Problem.
“By highlighting how the destinies of the human and horse species have been intertwined through exploitation from the very moment that horses were domesticated, The Horse Problem offers in a flash, a way to reinterpret history in a different way, a chance to construct an alternative narrative for our future as species,” said Gabriel Giorgi in his essay for the work’s catalogue.
Anne Imhof work, Faust, German pavilion.
This is one of the best performances i’ve seen and completely in keeping with my project - looking at isolation and alienation. The work shows a “get fucked” (sorry no other words) attitude and a fight and power within something quite, quite sad.
Freedom and the question of what keeps people together and indeed what drives people apart?
I found this Quote in a book; it’s significant in the way i'm thinking about how we affect each other. Everyone, not just two people in a relationship and how we affect the spaces we occupy - politically, socially, culturally and historically.
“Only by forming an association of bodies, only by occupying space can resistance take hold.” The press release ends... “On the balustrades and fences, underground and on the roof, the performers conquer and occupy the room, the house, the pavilion, the institution, the state.” - See more.
Looking up the meaning 'Faust'
Faust is the protagonist of a classic German legend. He is a scholar who is highly successful yet dissatisfied with his life, which leads him to make a pact with the Devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures.
This above performance was done on the opening day of the Venice Biennale - an event for the privileged and invited. I went to see what it was like, curious how the art was viewed and if people spoke to each other. They didn't much, it was quiet, it was nothing like a local gallery opening where artists are desperate to meet people with like minds, having crawled out their spaces for the first time that year. “Is it a kind of Disneyland, do the visitors get what they should be getting from it?”.
This blog has been very difficult thing to write. Why is it so difficult to discuss division and for some people (media for example) so easy to lie?
How many of us feel stuck in the class we are born into or will continue to wear the labels they have been given all their lives?
The design of my work through investigation and making continues.......
Leila Houston (London, 1977) is a visual artist whose work investigates the social, political and historical aspects of a place.