April 11th, 2011

literature portraiture

On the 5th of April I participated in a two week project in the Witte Zaal gallery space (Sint Lucas, Ghent) whereby, daily, new artists responded to the gallery space as it was left the day before.

Items and resources could be introduced to the space but not removed. The artist before me put all the previous works in garbage bags and numbered the bags by day.

I responded to that by making a trashy, anxious environment with ink-scrawled messages denying the value of art and announcing the waste of time art represents. A classmate arrived then and further added to the visual aspect of it by arranging old records and empty drinks cans in the space. Then I declared that I would just read and study all day, because it was more important than making art. I taped the pages of my art history syllabus to the floor and the walls (with a note saying I was keeping it safe for later because it was important).

I began to read a novel (Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence), flicking through pages at random and only reading full paragraphs when they immediately appealed to my present state of mind. Then whenever I felt a strong connection to the words — whenever they appealed to an immediately relevant memory, a philosophy, an attitude, etc — I wrote down the whole paragraph or line or lines. In the end I had a big scroll of paper which when read functioned as a portrait or snapshot of my mind as it was that day. So it became an experiment in literary portraiture.

If I can track down the text that was created, I’ll post it here (it had to stay in the gallery space, and was used by an artist in a subsequent performance during the project).


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