overall intro and description
The container, which is deliberately made of metal, on the first level immediately reflects the viewer’s participation.
Secondly although it has characteristic associations concerning strength and impenetrability, this masks the nature of the vulnerable nature of the internalised items.
Within the box is a triple layered poetic text, which both describes and questions the life and formation of an individual’s formation and identity. It could be any one of us. In this case, the image that instigated this whole project, for me, was actually an antique doll.
Hence the title of the piece.
There is a ‘given’ expectation and usually a desire that we are all nourished physically intellectually and culturally by immediate relatives. To survive the developing ‘id’ has to meet certain conditions of worth (see Carl Rogers, the American 20th century, ‘Person Centred’ psychological theories to expand on this)
And therein lies so many painful routes through the landscape of childhood. This piece refers to the parallel narratives of the past and the present within the self. ‘No visible Damage’ can be the most destructive consequences of an abuse of personal power. And many of us spend all of our lives trying to unlock our selves from these metal boxes.
Artists books or Bookart ? I always feel that using the latter, is less confusing and elitist and so I mainly use this term. I began making bookart whilst undertaking a Masters degree course in Printmaking (this course, is no longer available), at Wimbledon College of Art (University of the Arts London).
I don't think that I had been aware of the 'genre' prior to this. While I was undertaking my Masters Printmaking, at Wimbledon College of Art, Julia Farrer and Sigrid Quemby both excellent artists and lecturers (who taught there at the time) were generous enough to show us examples of artists books - probably from their own collections. We would often sit in the office area, drinking afternoon tea whilst discussing how they had been constructed and again how that "inter played" with the subject matter or theme. This was a very exciting and stimulating experience for me and one time I remember Paolo Carraro an artist who also worked in the printmaking department, brought in some of his own bookart to show us. It was obvious that like Julia he was highly skilled in this genre.
Making Motschmann Type Infant
I was inspired and so I set off and a year later found myself working on a piece for a project, linked to the inauguration of the Tate Modern.
'Motschmann Type Infant' was created for this event which was called 'Bankside Browser', curated by Dr.Andrew Renton (who is now lecturing on the Curatorial Programme, Goldsmiths College, University of London) and Kitty Scott (who is now the Curator of Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa).
It was presented at St Christopher House, London, the artworks were 'housed' in a giant archive which could be accessed by members of the public.This could be done by visiting the gallery in person of course, BUT also by visiting the exhibition database on line.
It was very much an interactive exhibit where viewer could touch the objects /books drawings /paintings/ photographs /sculptures and artists books. They would do this using white cotton gloves, as used by archivists and museum staff on a regular basis.
Quite unique at that time, the project allowed the viewer to make selections from the 350 works in the archive, or to research into the various artists works via a vast database available on CD-ROM and on line. (sadly no longer available). Let that be a lesson to practising fine artists - i.e., get hold of a copy of the documentation and related info., of projects you collaborate in or those you are involved in. 1999 was a very busy happening year for me and before I knew it, the opportunity had slipped by. Perhaps I will eventually contact Kitty and or Andrew.
About the work:
"Motschmann Type Infant"
Metal, paper, plastic bottles, capsules, cotton.
20cm x 14cm x 36cm
double layered poetic text
capsules with words
Art form: 3D object
"The metallic container immediately reflects your participation and contradicts the vulnerable nature of its contents that is the formation of life and identity. Theoretically, our immediate relatives nourish us all physically, intellectually and culturally.
Additionally, in order to survive the developing 'id' has to meet certain conditions of worth * And therein lies the problem:-
And so the poetic text written in the development of this book art work represents the struggle of the individual to maintain integrity and validation in the face of parental prejudice and mental illness.
I had heard of a strategy David Bowie had used to write the lyrics of some of his songs and decided to employ his method. I took text from fairly disparate second hand books I had lying around, one from psychotherapy, another about Post colonial cultural development and one from a child's history book on South American Indians. In the excitement of it all - I didn't keep a record of these details i.e., the titles, authors and so on, something I wouldn't dream of doing now.
From this I created parallel narratives that are haunting and savage on the one hand whilst measured and reassuring on the other. The images integrate with the thoughts/poetry.
The poem read as one entire continuous piece - I actually wrote it at the same time as I was evolving the imagery and it was an incredibly intense experience
each of us is both in the conversation
three legged childhood
knowing and owning forms of survival
had masks and been made to let out
to give the alienating everyday an aura of selfhood
their macabre musical heads and skin
to settle for the known, talking
as hostages for a crime
a silent profligate ache
until no one wept"