I must have fallen asleep, for all of a sudden there was the moon, a huge moon framed in the window. Two bars divided it in three segments, of which the middle remained constant, while little by little the right gained what the left lost. For the moon was moving from left to right, or the room was moving from right to left, or both together perhaps, or both were moving from left to right, but the room not so fast as the moon, or from right to left, but the moon not so fast as the room. But can one speak of right and left in such circumstances? That movements of an extreme complexity were taking place seemed certain, and yet what a simple thing it seemed, that vast yellow light sailing slowly behind my bars and which little by little the dense wall devoured, and finally eclipsed. And now its tranquil course was written on the walls, a radiance scored with shadow, then a brief quivering of leaves, if they were leaves, then that too went out, leaving me in the dark. How difficult it is to speak of the moon and not lose one’s head, the witless moon. It must be her arse she shows us always. Yes, I once took an interest in astronomy, I don’t deny it.
from Molloy by Samuel Beckett
While I was at Central St Martins I played with bricks and paint, went back into my comfort zone of photography and video, started to get bored by my own work, had a bit of a crisis, doodled my way out of it, and worked my way up to this, my degree show piece. I was rather pleased with it. They weren’t.
Thanks to the great Sinéad Rushe for being in it.
An exhibition I organised with the splendid Matthew Kolakowski and Christina Johnston. I thought our work would go well together. It did.
I showed London Beach and My Inhuman World.
It was on at Brixton East Gallery on 17 to 20 October.
Three photos that I had in a show called 14 x 14: 14 artists, each showing a few pieces 14 inches square. I added some pragmatic white space for the show, obviously. It was at the long-gone Mafuji Gallery, on the second floor of a Victorian workshop building on Shacklewell Lane, Dalston (possibly Shacklewell – not sure where the boundary runs, strictly). It ran from 17 November to 15 December 2001, back when Dalston was the throbbing pulse of the obscurely avant-garde, a club I was unqualified to join, despite living in a bedsit on Evering Road. It was fun to go to exhibitions in semi-derelict post-industrial spaces, though, and try to work out what was the art and what was the debris – a confusion that I think was deliberately fostered. It’s still a popular gambit today, as I saw at last year’s Liverpool Biennial in the old sorting office on Copperas Hill. Last night I saw that it’s trickled down to post-retro pub design for the thirtysomething middle classes in Walthamstow, if the updated Chequers on the High Street is anything to go by. Anyway, these pictures now seem to nicely sum up some of my persistent obsessions. The numbers came from a bag of spare cassette labels that I’d been keeping for about 20 years by that point, sure that they must come in useful some time. I was right.
Thanks to the splendid Cinzia Cremona, in February 2005 I got to play with the cool kids for once. This was in a group show at Project 142, which was living quarters and studios for artists and musicians in a Victorian factory complex on the Lea Bridge Road in Hackney. Now, of course, redeveloped. I didn’t have much money or time, so I contributed one of my periodic attempts to get away from cameras – although this is the only work I’ve ever shown that was made without one. Without the machine itself, that is, though as you can see I could think of no topic more interesting. You can see more of it here.
So the RCA didn’t want me, and I didn’t take any photos for a while after that. Then Stephen and I decided we needed a project to get us each going, so we decided on London monuments. He picked five, I picked five, and he wrote poems and I took pictures. I hired a Pentax 67 with a huge 500mm lens, then bleached and toned the prints. No more aimless street photography for me. Planning, consistency, craft. That was the way to get people to take you seriously. Continue reading Monuments
3 February to 1 March 1991, The Photographers’ Workshop.
In fact, it went on until 22 January. On show were some photos from Melville and On the road in KZN.