Friday, 14 December 2012

Hoist by Our Own Petard - introductory essay

To be hoist by your own petard means to be blown up by your own bomb, and that's a risk that we are willing to take. HbOOP is an experiment with 'art' as the subject, and with 'money' and 'every day life' as variables, but there are no guarantees that 'art' as we know it will survive the process. HbOOP firstly takes the form of an exhibition, where objects and pictures of stunning complexity and gross candour invite you to consider the nature of skill, effort and creativity. Of the individual artworks which go to form HbOOP(the exhibition), the majority were constructed within the creators home, and the concept of 'home' is a concern within much of the work on show. This is made evident with familiar and perhaps comforting shapes, textures, and colours; to some extent the gallery is made domestic. However the home is as much a site of disgust as it is of comfort, and if there is a boundary between the two, it is impossible to define.

In the work of Darren Adcock, cancerous cellular patterns coalesce into dystopian cityscapes, which appear at once distant and magnified. Adcocks pictures are meticulously hand drawn, with patterns that seem to have germinated instinctively. Similarly, in the work of Pascal Nichols, bulbous and irregularly limbed sculptural forms purposefully emphasize the base-ness of clay, whilst sitting snugly on household shelves, displayed (or stored) in their intended situation as part of a room. Suspended centrally, Susan Fitzpatrick's mutant, overdeveloped creature-garments confound with their sinister, cute, woolliness. Knitting is a richly connotative technique, and is
employed by Fitzpatrick without strict patterns or traditional 'grandma' skill, yet cheerfully bright
'hats' seem as though they would protect the wearer from more than just the cold. Meanwhile, Kerry Hindmarch paints with oils, making pictures which seek to expose the perversities which underly social conditioning. Hindmarch's interests lie in the abject and maternal, expressed via violent daubings of colour, which congeal into raging figures, and non sequential narratives. Joincey's is the largest body of work on show, whereby a superabundance of incidental photographic images give a baffling, but honest, account of a life. Hunker down in a curtained grotto to view the world through pictures taken on a whim, created in a moment, which are now archived, arranged and projected for your pleasure.
Hboop takes place as part of Free For Arts Festival, a week long series of exhibitions and events which seeks toprovide inventive and unique experiences for the public “on the house”, and it is within this context that we will question the 'Free-ness' of art. The five artists who's work features do not consider themselves to be 'professional artists', as is evidenced in their first hand accounts. Here, art happens in between and as part of 'work' and 'leisure', it does not have it's own distinct space set aside, with equal status. This means that time spent doing art can't help but be perceived as time lost from 'work' and 'leisure'. Art is the co-opted, and becomes part of both; which is discussed in more depth by Susan Fitzpatrick in; Art and uneven development's cause is one: reflections on art and 'regeneration'.

For art to flourish, and to be a way of experimenting, is it necessary to carve out a third space of “action” as defined by Hannah Arendt1, whereby thinking, making and experimenting 'for the sake of it' would be vital? In order to explore this question, and others, you are invited on Sunday the 21st of October 2012, to take part in a microcosmic badge-making economy, where you must put a price on your own creativity. Meanwhile, in conjunction with the 'Free for Arts Publishing Fair', musicians will peddle their songs for whatever you are willing to pay. Songs being an extreme example of how ubiquitous it has become to acquire commodities, for prices which do not reflect the labour that created them, and how it is essential that we examine our spending habits to work out how, and if, art can be 'free'. We will also be holding a 'Sumi Ink Club Meeting'2, whereby you, and everybody else, are invited to contribute to a collaborative ink drawing. 'Sumi Ink Club' was founded in 2005 by artists' Sarah Rara and Luke Fischbeck, as a kind of accessible social therapy, and will form a much needed counterpoint to the individualistic, and speculative nature of badge-making-business and human jukeboxes.

1Arendt, Hannah the Human Condition (1958) The University of Chicago