Thursday, 31 March 2011

A Deluge of Extremes

from Georgia's notebooks
I have been sifting through some of Georgia's boxes. 
It's all there.  Creativity, obsession, torment, and hope.  Drawings, poems, rare books, handmade jewelry, beautiful shoes, prayers of pleading, lists of medication - what she took, when she took it, and more often, when she forgot, and diaries filled with tiny writing in coloured inks.  The evidence of her illness is scattered everywhere.  Some of the darker poems have been written over and over again.  The jewelry is exquisite and nothing short of genius considering she was entirely self taught.  I know that she would sometimes stay up all night, often sitting with a tray in the bath, making this stuff.  She taught herself everything there was to know about semi precious stones.  Then there are all the designer shoes.  Stunning, quirky, and far beyond her means.  Some were stolen, some were saved up for and afforded by living off protein shakes and cigarettes instead of food.  The multiple piles of rare books hints at Georgia's partiality to hoarding.  Her apartment groaned under the weight of unread material, looked at once then abandoned in a stack behind the sofa.  The writing in her diaries often changes dramatically in appearance, as if more than one person is the author.  Most poignant have been the prayers.  Georgia was looking desperately for a God she could believe in and feel supported by.    Every deed and thought she regretted and documented, was followed by a prayer to stop her doing and thinking these things again, but to no avail.  The insanity of repetition is rife.

I did not start off with the idea of including or adding anything personal of Georgia's but I now feel it might be an interesting idea.  So I am creating a scrapbook alongside the project.   It is the visual story of a bipolar mind.  A deluge of extremes.  Tragic but also funny.  She was the first person to make jokes about her behaviour at the same time as despairing.  She once befriended a man with no legs or arms, living on the streets.  She wheeled him home and tried to convince her flatmate to let him live with them.  Needless to say, it didn't happen.  Without being conscious of it, I realize this project is emulating something of the absurd in Georgia's circumstances. 

If her life were an artwork then I would say the theme to it was CONVENTION or lack thereof.  Time and again she could (or would?) not conform to what people and society expected of her.  But imagine if it was possible for a person to live entirely free of others' expectations.  Would she have found some other way to torment herself or could she have found peace?

Friday, 18 March 2011

Zambaza the Crystal Seer

It has been a few months since I last updated you on the project but things have been progressing while I was busy being "creative" at home with the arrival of another child. Now I am back in the studio, firing on all cylinders. We are on artist number 11. Half of these have been photographed by Christian who seems to have thoroughly enjoyed himself chit chatting with his subjects, judging by the sheer volume of material he has sent back to me. All the more impressive when I tell you that he is doing this for peanuts because he likes the ideas behind the project.

Zambaza the Crystal Seer is the contribution of artist number 7 - you will have to come to the show to work out who that one is.

What I am aiming for is 27 artists to have participated by August. That will make it one artwork for every year of Georgie's life. Then a show in December, venue yet to be confirmed. Ideally I would love to talk a central london gallery into hosting the event, one that represents an artist participating in the project. It is a long shot but worth a try. My vision is for a lively and social one night affair that will attract the great and the good, all hopefully in the spirit of giving and spending because it is close to Christmas and the charity whom the proceeds of the sale will benefit, concerns people who are likely to be particularly vulnerable at this time of year. As I see it, a gallery could also profit from such an event because it is likely to add new people to their mailing list, and show them in an attractive light for championing a good cause at this time of year. And who knows, the template for this project could well be continued by the gallery, using their stable of artists as the participants. It is something I have not seen done before (not to say that someone somewhere hasn't yet thought of it - if so and you are reading this, make yourselves known!) and yet could make for compelling, and at the very least, amusing, viewing; a unique format for linking seemingly unrelated creatives together.

As for the "flavour" of the project thus far, it is witty, bizarre, and somehow reflecting the current meteorological zeitgeist with its to-ing and fro-ing between sun, snow, and rain. I look forward to seeing the results of the current artist who is kindly taking time out from an impending deadline of work for the English National Opera to do this. The most recent participants include a trio from the same family: Neal, Leigh, and Jeremy Fox, a colleague of theirs from Le Gun Collective, Robert Rubbish, a regular in shows staged by Decima Projects, Jackie Clark , and up and coming emerging talent, Richard Starbuck. So watch this space for updates and please do get in touch with any ideas you may be able to contribute towards putting on the show and producing a book at the end of it all.