Their Hope is Full of Immortality
“For though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality.”
Wisdom of Solomon 3:4, King James Version
During lockdown I found it more difficult to focus and the imagery related to colonial violence was not very clear in my mind. When I get stuck, and I need a period of aesthetic incubation, my mind goes elsewhere and different concepts and images emerge. I engage with these until I am ready to go back to focus on whatever project I am working on. I see this as a strategy much like the idea of when you forget a word, think of cheese and the word will eventually come. Its is said that this happens because when we force our minds to think of the word (or image), often it won't surface as other information is blocking the recall.
I started this series when I could not find in my mind a clear image to symbolically represent colonial violence. So I took a “break”. Here I first wanted to explore colour and more specifically try and achieve a slight translucent quality to the hues that I was playing with. I then thought that I would paint a circle on black card (as I had painted a yellow tree before on black card and I liked the colour effect). Around the same time, I heard a radio program covering an evensong and in it the presenter said the words “For though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality." Although I am not religious I found the words inspiring. However, at the same time they made me think of the idea of humankind being so destructive of itself and the planet it inhabits and yet absurdly diverting its attention to outer space, in denial. So although I first wanted the circles to look flat and not too dense as an intention of creating an abstract form (a circle) where I was experimenting with colour, after hearing the radio program I associated the circle a planet. But I still wanted it to be in between a flat circle and a sphere/planet, not quite one or the other – as this was still an experiment on colour effects. The drips then came naturally as a gesture of action painting, but which might resemble space.
Strategies for Inoperativity
“Happy life is made possible by neutralizing the possible apparatuses of power to which we are subjected, including our own identities formed within them” (Prozorov, 2014: 31).
I consciously engage in art-making as resistance to productive labour. The title of these works, which I started when I could not focus on my project and I just felt an urge to draw and paint something, is inspired by the writings of Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, as much of my artwork is, and more specifically 'Creation and Anarchy: The Work of Art and the Religion of Capitalism', published in English in 2019.
Inoperativity: I-IV, mixed media on paper, each 30 x 22cm, 2020