Graduation Exhibition 11- 18 September Hardwick Gallery Cheltenham
NB not open at the weekend
where to go: hardwick gallery university of gloucestershire
16 September 6-8pm:
a tour and discussion with Lucy Tyler (head of MA creative writing, University of Gloucestershire) and Joanna Greenhill (artist founder of Index Gallery, Stroud) Chaired by Nick Pride, (head of MA visual communications, University of Gloucestershire)
to include performance and food
18 September 6-8pm
a celebration and opportunity to enjoy this exciting graduation show, with food, performance, poetry, 3D and 2D art from the MA in Fine Art and MA in Visual Communications students at University of Gloucestershire
At present I am working towards my final studio show and graduation from University of Gloucestershire where I have been studying for my MA in Fine Art for the last two years. Much of my work is performance based so over the next few weeks I will be uploading recordings, videos and so on of my work.
The title of my final show is “the map is not the territory”, a quotation from Alfred Korzybski, a scientist and philosopher who started his life as an aristocrat in Poland, spoke fluent Polish, Russian, French and German as a child and spent the last 30 years of his life in North America. He believed that no one directly accesses reality as reality is filtered by language and our nervous system. So the map is the interpretation- as best an endeavour, but no more than that.
What is a map? A collection of marks made often by those in power who care little about meaning. The straight ruler lines that criss cross the Middle East, parts of Africa and Asia, as well as the oceans and air above us demonstrate how meaningless boundaries can be.
What do maps signify? I don’t really know. They have provided a mechanism to “climb” into the territory, to explore, to imagine, to travel through it- and yet they are just marks on paper-no more reality than a painting on a wall. Those medieval maps with dragons and monsters might well be as truthful as the Peters or Mercantor equivalent. A map helps us find out where we are or where we ought to be and attempts to interpret for someone’s benefit. That is all.
Maps show edges- they define the space, the place. but what is beyond those edges- what does it feel like to be balanced precariously at the edge?
And what is it to cross those boundaries, to step over from one side of a line to another? A a child, I stood either side of the Greenwich Meridian and felt all-powerful: just an arbitrary line drawn by the winner continues to hold power. Greenwich Mean Time has a worldly value.
I recall the first time I read Camus’s L’Etranger (which can be translated as The Outsider , The Stranger or The Foreigner.) Whatever the meaning, the pared down language and challenging of then conventional morality appealed to me. I realise now that my subject matter all these years later is very much influenced by such reading and the various English translations of the title alone all resonate with my art. The crossing of boundaries includes transgression in thought as well as deed.
The thrill of border crossings has diminished within Europe although the memories of crossing into Eastern Europe in the early 1980s, the nervous tension as one waited for passport and luggage inspections on the train, still lives with me ; however for those attempting to enter Europe now, the crossing is not just survival and freedom but the opportunity to live a life worth living.
When I see what refugees will do to escape I remember my grandparents who left almost everything to flee Germany, some gold hidden in the heel of my grandfather’s boots. My grandmother never had a proper birth certificate- only one that had been copied onto glass. How it survived, I’m not sure.
Perhaps because of my own background, I need to explore the issues that make me who I am and where I am. Travelling across borders, exploring new territories, feeling alone with my emotions, I explore what it is to be a foreigner, an outsider, wherever I find myself. I explore my need to transgress, to make deliberate (but very small) wrongs to demonstrate my right to be here. I explore what it is to be on the edge, at the margins.