Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Experiments in progress

At the moment I can’t clearly formulate my ideas for/about my work, something which equally disconcerts and excites me. Looking over my blog-entries I realise that something is changing. Where before I almost exclusively showcased finished work about which I could write quite lucidly and coherently I’m now more and more presenting experiments, sketches, ideas, the path to … Coming out with things tentatively, it feels a bit like I’m stammering, searching/groping for words and blushing with the effort and failure looming. And yet this feels entirely right for me now. I’m using my blog as a virtual studio-space, posting images that maybe if I had a studio would just hang casually on a wall, roughly fixed with a piece of masking tape, and possibly draw a comment or two or not. With the format of the images here unless one leaves clues each one seems to have as much weight as the next one, no blue-tack, no scruffy pins or torn pieces of tape indicating that this is the way, not the end.

Currently I’m tieing/wrapping and crocheting doily-influenced nets/webs. Shoes and dresses still play a part but aren’t the end-product anymore - I’m trying to find different ways of using them/perceiving them/changing them. A net, a web, unless stretched taut and boasting its constituent stitches, is shapeless, or it can take the shape of what it is draped upon/around/over. You see here the crocheted web that I drew over my face the other day, formless now, and another one that I covered a pair of girls’ shoes with.

And I’ve been wrapping red thread around this dress with much gusto, but only during short bursts of energy, as I want this really tight. There is something about contained force and energy in that tied red column which thrills me, but it also holds the suppression of that force, both movements vascillating backwards and forwards in the process and in the image.


Anne-Laure said...

I recently heard an interview with Anselm Kiefer who said that he couldn't speak about work that he was currently working on, that it somehow killed it, and that he found it best to only speak about work once it is finished.
Maybe it sometimes forces ideas to move past where they're ready to go, when we put words to them too soon?

redredday said...

Anne-Laure, what do you mean forces ideas to move past...? ideas get lost when you put words to them too soon? or imposing ideas onto something that's not ready to be and they don't work?

for me, it is always a bit scary talking about my work, whether it is finished or work in progress. fear that maybe i am making stuff up, trying to make it more than what it is. often, i do not really think so deeply and consciously about what i am doing so it is hard to put much into words.

...i am still quite struck by what you wrote in the comments you left me, Marjojo, and do not quite know how to thing is that it was not any trip that was bad, just so touched and caught a little off guard by how someone could see and understand it almost more than you yourself are aware of.

on the same day i received your comments, i was just about to leave a comment here and tell you how more and more excited i am by your work. i love this post and these works in progress that you have here. the last image in particular literally made my heart tightened a bit and i had to stop to take a conscious breath. something about it immediately makes me uncomfortable, the way it is so tightly wrapped and so abrupt the change of shape. but at the same time when you look at it a bit longer, it is just so innocent, all so soft and familiar. makes you start to question things.

Marjojo said...

Isn’t it great to have exchanges like this? Thank you for your comments, Anne-Laure and Mien. I think it's true, when you speak too early about what you're working on it can kill the work, or maybe one's confidence in the work and its processes. It pins it down too early and can cut off possibilities for its unfolding and also the potential for surprise, accident, the altogether not envisaged routes for the artist herself. It’s happened to me when, in the grips of the excitement of a new idea I blurted out my thoughts to somebody else and found that not only did it not sound as thrilling as I’d felt until I spoke but also it almost made me lose interest, the work lost its mystery almost before it really got started. Still, there is temptation to shout to the world – I’ve got an idea, it’s amazing -, out of exhilaration but also out of the need for gratification NOW - to prop up one’s artist’s soul that keeps being assailed by doubt.
And there is this: What makes making art so exciting for the artist herself is that you don't quite know what will come out and that you can surprise yourself and looking back at work you see something that you weren't aware of putting in there in the first place.
When writing about my finished work I'm hoping that I'm not closing off other interpretations, other ways of relating. I know the fear of overloading one's work with meaning but also love the process of writing, it makes me think deeper and often illuminates the work for me in new ways. Art should never be entirely pindownable - a sense of mystery and depth is always to be hoped for. It's not easy being an artist, but I also think there's nothing better!!!

Marjojo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
redredday said...

hi Marjojo, guess what? my mom has been looking though your blog via my blog and she has a rather strong reaction to your work (particularly the newspaper figures), saying that it all seems very scary and morbid. and then wonders if you are okay. i told her that you are the best, that she should try reading what you write and leave comments for you. but my mom said her english is bad or else she would. let's see if she reads this.

oh and Anne-Laure, my crazy cousin told me the other day that he thinks your boxes are scary and that you're crazy for making them. my family is a bunch of scaredycats, it seems.
anyways, i am getting off-track...

i really like what you wrote here, Marjojo (should i call you Marion instead? is Marjojo a nickname? i like it. and also what is manipelt?).
what you wrote about maybe killing one's confidence in the work and its processes when talking about it too soon really shed some light on me. never really thought through what it means when people say it would kill the work. i could feel the gears in my head shifting after realizing that. -that if it is just a matter of confidence, then it is something i could tune into and choose to keep on going or not based on the faith i have in myself. as opposed to say some inexplicable fear. although i guess a lot of our fears come from lack of confidence. but sometimes it is hard to tell if it is fear or your intuition trying to tell you something.

i love the writing that goes along with your work. it doesn't feel like you are trying to tell people about your work, but more that it is also part of or the work itself. i am glad to hear you confirm about not wanting to close off other interpretations. i was kind of wondering about that, just because it often strikes me as if you have a complete understanding of where your work is coming from and where it might be heading.

Marjojo said...

Dear Mien!
Morbid and scary, huh? Moms! Mine can hardly look at my work and when I was crocheting the blue dress for a girl with two heads while I was visiting her she kept shaking her head in despair and disbelief, saying ‘can’t you just make a normal dress?’ and not seeing the beauty in it at all. But you definitely can tell your mom that for me beauty needs ambivalence and as everything in life can tip over into its opposite and back again and that I’m o.k. and many thanks for her concern and how great that she is interested and looks at your (and even my) blog. Comments and questions are always welcome, no matter how good or bad she thinks her English is. My mom will come visit next week for a few days and it will be interesting to see how she reacts to the work in my flat, I’m sure there will be a few shivers… I’ll show her my blog, have tried to explain it to her but she has no access to a computer and can’t imagine what it looks like and marvels that I should be in touch with artists in other parts of the world. And I marvel too!
More answers: Marjojo was the name given to me by my favourite little boy when he couldn’t speak my name ‘properly’ yet and I love it and have adapted it as my more playful alter ego. Manipelt is a fairy-tale by the brothers Grimm which in a round-about way has led me to making my hairdresses.
And about my writing: You’ve got it right, it is very important to me and writing for my blog regularly has become a joy and I usually take great care with it, as with any piece of work. I don’t see it as explaining my art, but as hovering around it and its concerns and just like with artwork it is best when I’m surprised by what I’ve written, surprised by my own thoughts and formulations.

Feltbug said...

There is an award waiting for you over at feltbug xx

Catherine said...

I find the tightly wrapped shoes, dress especially, more evocative and compelling because they hide and still reveal a shape, and really we know what is under the wrapping but would still like to see it and check for sure. The doily's reveal more and have a different feel to them more sexy in some ways but also too easy, not as challenging because we can see the contents quite easily. I like the paradox of hidden not hidden, very deep and part of every day struggle, what do we show, what do we reveal, how will others react, can i face the reaction, keep it just for me to enjoy as is...

Marjojo said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comment! I agree absolutely, prefer the tied objects too. What the doily-wrapped shoes (too pretty) also lack is tension, both in the making and in the final object, that tightness of the tieing that reveals and conceals the underlying shape, and which makes the process tense too, the obsessiveness of it, it's a movement, a gesture repeated and repeated with thread taut.

redredday said...

hi Marjojo! that is very funny about what your mom says about making a normal dress. haha. my mom actually said something similar to that effect too. that she likes your dresses a lot but how come you add such strange things to them?

i hope you and your mom will have a lovely time together next week!

thanks for explaining the names. i have read all of Grimm's fairytales (i think) when i was younger but have forgotten a lot of them. i'll have to go check out Manipelt again.

Anne-Laure said...

thanks for your comments Marjojo,I only got back to this conversation today to find so much more that followed. I also find that you write with a lot of richness, a way that doesn't pin the work down to only one meaning, but is more suggestive of other pathways for interpretation.
I have been finding it more and more difficult to use words lately, and so have been noticing more how others write about their work. It's also been helpful to hear what other people have to say when they look at my work, and see connections that were unintentional or a whole new angle to see things from.