mercredi 27 mai 2015

Marc Didou: Presence and Absence, Standing In A Certain Light

   

Spectrale © Marc Didou 2015
Spectrale © Marc Didou 2015

 At the end of a tree-lined single track, tucked into the cove of a salt-marsh Breton estuary, lies a modest stone chapel, a pilgrimage site to Sainte Marie, patron saint of the sailors who for decades crossed the seas from here to Canada to fish for cod. Even today, numerous statutes, freshly-picked flowers, lit candles and tiny notes adorn an altar built into the stone wall; "Please Saint Mary...", they say.
        International artist Marc Didou's recently-comissioned gate Spectrale (2015) now opens the way into this mysterious space. An anamorophic piece, the gate can appear as a simple iron-work, a delicate, almost lacy structure. But, from a certain angle, when the light is right, a female face appears, looming from the portal; a spectre of Juno to carry us across the threshold. "The Roman goddess Juno", Marc told me when we met, "Symbolises the beginning and the end", opening and closing. According to the season, the luminosity and the foliage on the trees; there is something here, or nothing.
                     Didou's work explores the ideas of absence and presence, the difference between 'voir' and 'regarder' what we look at and what we see. The Spectrale is part of a show, three works currently exhibited together. Echo contre ciel, depicts a bronze head based on a MRI scan of Didou, it is executed he says, almost as though "I am sculpting blindly"; his trace, his sculptor's touch absent in the shape. The third piece Pipeline Fossile, turns a petrol pipe inside out and restores it to a log-like form- recounting the origins of the petrol that once travelled inside; the secret, the invisible cyclical story of the pipeline.
            Since I saw this work last week, it is the Spectrale gate that - literally - continues to haunt me, particularly it's acute relationship with the site, echoing the intimate act of pilgrimage, the invisible hands that arrange the flowers, strike the matches, write the notes; the spirituality that can be present or absent, or may catch us, unexpectedly, when we stand in a certain light....


For more information on Marc Didou.

For more information on the exhibition organised by the association L'Art au Fils de Rance.

lundi 25 mai 2015

Visual Verse : We Can Be Bought And Sold

I've written a piece for Visual Verse this month, We Can Be Bought And Sold, about the brain, neurosciences and people as supermarket barcodes. You can read it here

mardi 12 mai 2015

A Chuckle. A Dip. A Crack : Visual Verse

Been trying to get back to writing for Visual Verse every month. It's a spontaneous, unpremeditated  experience, there's no time for prevarication, hesitation and reflection, just a little mental churn over ideas (a tiny prayer that the vein tapped will yield some gold) and then fingers on keyboard. Write, write, write.

dimanche 10 mai 2015

Marion Mitchell and collaborations

I am currently working on two international collaborative projects with visual artists, a painter and a film-maker (more news about these soon!) Visual art often inspires my writing.

The brilliant international artist Marion Mitchell has an exhibition on at the moment at the RSpace Gallery in Lisburn, called Strands of Wishful Thinking: Hairlings and other Things. 

Marion Michell’s art touches on childhood, on growing up and its anxieties. It is as much an exploration of memory as of physical experience. Not necessarily concrete memories, more moods and atmospheres, interwoven with elements from myths and fairy tales. The exhibition encompasses assembled objects, re-fashioned heirlooms and photography as well as crocheted outfits which skirt the border of reality as a way of thinking about bodies, bodies that buckle under the strain of difference, and draw their lifeblood from it.


mercredi 25 mars 2015

Pontas and The Tide That Took The Sea

Thanks to the Pontas team and Jessica Craig for this great piece in their newsletter about my novel The Tide That Took The Sea.

Schwitters, Vorticism and found language

           

       Once upon a time, in another life, I wrote an MA dissertation on Vorticism, which is held in the  elegant Tate Modern library, where I carried out part of my research. I have always been drawn like a bee to honey by the avant-garde artistic movements from the début du siècle. Dadaism holds a special, undone, ripped up and shuffled place in my heart. This week, I was flipping through the pages of Coutts-Smith book about this anarchic and nihilistic movement which took place between 1916 and 1923. Reading, I came across the German artist Kurt Schwitters, renowned for his opening up of art, its materials, subject matters, ideas of aesthetic. In this assemblage vision the debris of contemporary society: the broken, the abandoned, the useless and the over-looked, are re-presented, transformed and transcended. 
               Schwitters extends this practice to language, travels for hours on trains, circling the city, listening to snatches of conversation, chatter and gossip, lyrics and songs. Overheard fragments are collaged together, language re-found. I have been mulling this idea around in the back of my head, the idea of finding language, words and stories, over, under and around the page. Outside and inside. And, also the idea of reclaiming the discarded and the lost.



vendredi 20 mars 2015

L'hôpital Le Dessous des Cartes

L'Hôpital Le Dessous des Cartes, hit French bookshops last week. I co-wrote this French roman, a semi-fictional, semi-academic dramatic exploration of the dilemmas facing contemporary French hospitals. 



You can read more about the book here