This is something I’ve been thinking about today.
My artistic interest is in objects. I’m fascinated with things and our relationship with things. I love stuff. It is the stuff of stuff that I love. Stuff rules our lives. We don’t like that, but it does. Stuff is everywhere. I wrote my dissertation about stuff and the art of stuff.
Ever since I started my late artistic education (in 2012) I’ve looked closely at things. Firstly, I considered transitional objects and fond objects. I discovered Daniel Miller and his studies. Next, I moved on to the trace objects leave when they leave us. Jacques Derrida helped me here. Then I looked at the valuable objects at Powis Catle and the relationship the staff at Powis had with those objects. I didn’t need a thinker; I just needed the people I interviewed. After that, I moved onto First World War objects and again, the trace of memory in them. I interviewed the staff at Shrewsbury Regimental Museum and people who lived in Pontesbury about their precious things. Again, no thinker was needed, just people and their love of objects. Last year, I considered balloons as objects and the effect they have on us and the beauty that can be found in them once lost and / or burst. This time help came from friends, family and strangers who collected balloons for me. I considered the notion of ennobling the discarded ethereal object by turning the balloon fragments into bronze.
This year, objects aren’t featuring at all in my research. Currently my interest is much more abstract and much less tangible than cats, toys, shoes, balloons or medals. I’m looking at repetition.
I hooked onto this subject a couple of months ago when the level 6 fine art students (me included) were asked to consider repetition over a two-day period at the beginning of term. I looked at the subject, I enjoyed it, and after two days I decided to keep running. I started the #FreeRepublicofRepetition and set up a website which muses on the topic from time to time.
There are two strands to my interest in repetition. Firstly, I’m fascinated with repetition in every day life in the form of homelife, work, routine, advertising, art, philosophy, politics, culture, social media and social life. To this end I’ve been producing a number of posters and post-it notes and doodles and leaving them around me, mostly around the art building in Wolverhampton. This has been the ‘fun’ side to the project. I’ve really enjoyed being a bit of a fake guerrilla artist. This is the post-modernist in me coming out. Nothing I have made is original, it is all borrowed and twisted for the sake of humour and perhaps political or social message.
The second strand is repetition in art. What does repetition produce? Does it produce a bland copy or does it, ironically, inspire original thought? We might imagine that repetition is a form of copying or faking, but is that always, or at all, true? My argument is, that it isn’t true (even, perhaps, when that is the intention but that is arguable). Repetition can be a process to follow to give a number of interesting results: freeing the mind from the pressure to come up with original thought, finding an idea out of not needing an idea and also seeking perfection. Repetition leads to infinity. Of course, that isn’t possible. So why not see how far you can get by simple repetition of a concept or an image? You won’t get to perfection but you might get quite close. There is no such thing as and ‘end’ of infinity or perfection anyway, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth trying. There are plenty of paradoxes in the world yet we pursue them anyway. Paradoxes are interesting. We shouldn’t ignore the things we don’t understand or can’t explain with logic just because we don’t understand them or can’t explain them.
So my question here is: should I worry that my interest has changed quite dramatically since the summer? Or maybe it hasn’t yet I can’t yet see the connection? Perhaps there is a connection and it is just hiding from me. Objects and Repetition. Objects and Repetition. Objects and Repetition. If I repeat it enough, I will see the connection. Repetition leads to clarity. I hope it leads to clarity.
As for my art practice, that has remained the same. I love to draw. I have been drawing a lot while thinking about repetition. I’ve been drawing repetitiously and also doodling and drawing and sketching about the topic: anything and everything that comes to mind.
I feel uneasy, though, that I haven’t done enough. I feel uneasy that I have no idea where this is going. Is it going anywhere at all? I don’t know. I will just keep repeating and repeating until I get there, wherever there may be.