Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name, but what’s puzzling you? Is it the nature of my game? Sometimes I just feel like quitting, I still might, why do I put up this fight? Why do I still write? Sometimes it’s hard enough just dealing with real life. Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book? It took me years to write, will you take a look? *
Saying hello and goodbye are the hardest part of any conversation, so I thought I would ease myself into this writing residency with a couple of reflections. I’ve always been fond of a term Günter Grass used, he referred to the idea of crab-walking. Grass was articulating the difficulty Germany faced after the second world war – the double attempt of remembering yet attempting to move on. This idea is broadly applicable to other forms of culture, I think about this a lot – art helps us to negotiate the past while looking towards the future.
Writing can sometimes feel like digging and at other times like building, at once agricultural and then architectural. It is a simultaneous process of looking at something while looking at yourself. Robert Filiou once said that “art is what makes life more interesting than art”. That seems like a pretty good place to start.
Good criticism is as necessary as great art. Like a lot of teenagers I originally became interested in art through music, I used to read the NME and I can still vividly recall some of the review writing. Figures such as Steven Wells and James Oldham were worth reading even when the music wasn’t worth listening to. I like to think that writing creates a proposition for an art work, and good work can absorb multiple propositions.
Over the next four months I will be providing essays, reflections and interviews on the Jerwood Drawing Prize and Family Politics exhibitions. Although two very distinct exhibitions, both will provide ample material to respond to. Primarily, I’m looking forward to meeting the artists and getting to know their work in more depth. Stayed tuned folks!
*The intro, of course, are not my own words but a montage of song lyrics courtesy of Mick Jagger, Eminem, and Lennon & McCartney.