Its a ‘that-goes-with-that-then-that-fits-there’ sort of thing.Posted: September 14, 2011
“I’m not artistic”, a phrase I have heard from a countless number of people. Do they judge this on their ability to figuratively paint a family portrait in oils or make a lifelike sculpture of a dancing horse, Do they believe, for some reason, that this is the only outlet for creativity? I believe that we all have something which tells us what we want from a material, that-goes-with-that-then-that-fits-there-and-that-colour-is-really-good-and-I-really-want-to-touch-that-but-I-prefer-that-pattern. Whether we see this as ‘artistic’ is subjective, but we all have the creativity to know what we want. There are processes we go through, whether we are an artist applying them to art, or simply applying them to everyday life.
Every artists in Working Title goes through a different process, I know myself from making things in my own practice that we sometimes give ourselves rules, unconsciously or consciously, some more strict than others (Now, this object will be REALLY small, I can only use ONE colour on this .) Some are there so we can purposefully disobey them, creating something simultaneously pleasing and awful, dirty and good…so wrong and so right, as a friend puts it in a review of Phyllida Barlow’s most recent exhibition,
‘Then you look up, or down; then its big, stupid and awkward – an installation in the top room was so unbelievably harsh I actually wanted to punch its stupid pointy parts in, and the colour and the gorgeously carefree way pink paint had just been slapped on to naked metal, well that was just despicable. I hated that room but it was brilliant; everything jarring and crammed in like that…’
For artist Beata Kozlowska, it is always important that her pieces are clean. Clean lines and clean shapes, as well as being literally clean, she could not bare the idea of constructing a work using a dirty chair, yet for some artists, using an object as it comes, or even going against what seems to be right (Instead of a white box, I will use this brilliantly dirty old crate as a plinth) is all part of the fun.
There is an infinite amount of points (most of which I wouldn’t like to touch upon) to consider when thinking about how an artist creates and thus ‘gets’ to an artwork, whether there has been a thoughtful step-by-step decision making process or a haphazard purposeful lack of thinking, I find it curious how even if we want a piece to be spontaneous or naive, we will always carry the baggage of pre-thinking.
If you are not familiar with the Working Title artists (successfully avoiding the barrage of tweeting, facebooking and blogging), or have never stepped into the realms of artwork created in this fashion, it is possible you will say to yourself (secretly or out loud) “This isn’t art”. I often wonder why this is, possibly the cheapness of the artwork’s materials, its recognition as something too familiar or that its creation has come about with an apparent lack of skill. This issue is raised in ‘Make do and bend: The adhoc in sculptural practice’, an essay by Joanne Lee.
‘ … There are huge anxieties of inadequacy [for artists], as if perhaps people fear that everyone else is doing it properly, whilst they themselves are not. Contemporary art frequently displays a rather complicated relationship with its materials and means of making; artists aren’t quite sure how to validate their practice to the non-cognoscenti when working outside an established craft tradition or with cheap, everyday materials (those employing sellotape as opposed to say, casting bronze)…such work does not easily convince those for whom some clear demonstration of technical ‘artistic’ skill is still a requirement. Of course matters are not so neatly binary…lo-fi materials are at times laboriously crafted with the kind of attention paid to costly stuff.’
As we have re-iterated, throughout our blog posts, these materials are fun, they are begging to be played with and experimented with (I bet that conjures up a few images), but perhaps this is the reason that some can’t take it seriously, It seems a bit tacky to proclaim that you have ‘creative freedom’ with these objects, but you do, and I think that is simultaneously why people are so attracted to using cheap materials (in an extremely experimental way) in their artistic practice, and why it is often seen as a waste of time (it is thrown together without any worth.)
The bits and pieces gathered from the craft bank and set aside in the visitors section of Working Title are placed there without expectation, these materials are not like a pencil waiting for a drawing, they are like a pencil waiting for you to maybe construct a strange 3D sculpture comprised completely of pencils, they are objects waiting for your decisions, as small or grand as you like. I think it takes a creative gesture on a supposedly mundane material to disprove the statement “I am not artistic”, and sometimes it is just a simple gesture that can make us realise the potential that lies in something we might often overlook.