Ideas are starting to take shape, literally, in the form of exhibits for Destroying the Laboratory for the Sake of the Experiment. After a break, Mark is back. As he explores the printing capabilities and papers as production of the exhibits gets underway, he takes an unconventional view of achieving print quality!
I've just re-read my last post, from mid-April, and I see that I was due to post another blog entry the following week. And here we are, already in mid-June. Time has rushed by. I've been flat out on the production of 'Laboratory'. Meetings with Jim Wilson about the metal and concrete frames, and constant back and forth discussions and tweaks between myself.
I've also been printing for the show. One of the 'pieces' will consist of 'photographic bricks'... a series of about 30 pictures and 6 poems (scans directly taken from Dan's notebooks), all printed to 14 x11 in., which will be mounted onto aluminium with battens on the back. These will be hung in the downstairs gallery at Atlas, as one might arrange the bricks of a house starting at the bottom corner - the meeting of a door and the skirting board - and filling most (but importantly not all) of the wall. Brick walls require half bricks at the end of alternate rows, and we'll be doing the same... occasionally a picture will be cut in half and mounted on two separate bits of aluminium, so the odd 'half-piece' will sit either side of the door. This work refers to the building of a project I suppose, but perhaps you'll need to see this to fully understand what I'm getting at.
I've also made a 50 x40 in.print of one picture, which is about to be mounted and framed, which will sit above the stairwell. It looks spectacular, and, I have to admit, it was wonderful to be able to make this at home. Amazingly, it took only two goes to get it right. It will sit above Dan's poem, 'It Is Written' which will cover one entire wall. This has been designed by Dom and is being printed as wallpaper somewhere in the UK. We hope to get some specialised help to hang it.
I've just had delivered some HP Recycled Bond Paper (just £10 per roll!) which is uncoated stock a little like old-fashioned newsprint. This will be used for a piece in one of the windows of the gallery, to be seen from the street. Obviously the print quality on this paper will be low, which is what I want in this instance, since we will be screwing up (literally, into balls) a number of prints of pictures and poems, which will be 'carefully arranged' (!) on the windowsill, but with one flattened out and tacked into a frame hanging above. I suppose, here, we are trying to allude to the editing process, and the lack of confidence I always experience when completing a project as well as, perhaps, the 'value' of art. I remember, while at art college a long time ago, rescuing a drawing by my then tutor from the waste bin. It was a life drawing so beautiful (to my eyes) that I took it home, smoothed it out, and (guiltily) blu-tacked it to my bedroom wall. It hardly mattered to me that it was damaged - I was the proud owner of a 'real' Denis Creffield. After a few weeks however, it dawned on me that Denis has thrown it away for a reason - because he, the artist, was unhappy with it. So I threw it away too - a painful experience.
I also managed to get a roll of the apparently very rare HP Paper Backed Polyester Film (from Amazon, of all places) which has yet to arrive, but I'll be using that to print a picture for another window in the gallery. This media has the appearance of a sort of shower curtain... it's transparent, and through the image (which will hang from a runner above the window as if it were a real curtain) it should be possible to read one of Dan’s poems, hand written on the wall behind by the graphic artist Martin Galton.
I'm also trying to make a print, framed in glass, which is going to be screwed to the floor of the gallery, in the hope that visitors will step on it. We might place this at the foot of the stairs, so it's impossible not to do so. The idea is to make the visitor uneasy, since it's not expected practice - of course - to stand on a framed and glazed picture.
So, lots to do...
At the time of publication, Mark's exhibit has opened. There are plans to take the exhibition on tour. Visit the Atlas Gallery webpage to learn more. Don't miss Mark's final blog entry, which will be coming soon.