Thursday, 19 November 2015

Documentation: Fisher's Ghost Art Prize & Affiliated Text's 'Scoring Patti Smith'; and general news

My work, 'Museum of Fathers #39: 30 irregular minutes' (1999-2014). As one of the finalists short listed for the 'Contemporary' section, I am very glad with the installation of my work in the Fisher's Ghost Art Prize at Campbelltown Art Gallery, Sydney.

As this work is mounted to the wall with a galvanised metal hinge, the work can be moved to create multiple shadow and light plays on the wall.
India Zegan, 'Museum of Fathers: HoRses- HorSES- hORSES’, (2007-2015) | Materials: Nail polish and bronze| Edition: 1/1| Dimensions variable | Documentation: Felicity Jenkins

India Zegan: 'Museum of Fathers: HoRses- HorSES- hORSES’, (2007-2015) | Materials: Nail polish and bronze| Edition: 1/1| Dimensions variable | Documentation: Felicity Jenkins
Each of the 8 elements of this work is made from nail polish and bronze. As there is a considerable weight to this work, I have mounted all 8 elements on a plywood substrate. Special thanks to Mez and Robert Lake for installing this work for me. This work was cast at Crawford's Foundry in 2007.

I have uploaded the following copy from the Affiliated Text website as it introduces the conceptual rational for this group exhibition:

Scoring Patti Smith
Catherine Clover, Danae Valenza, Danius Kesminas, Hissy Fit, India Zegan, Jacqueline Millner, John Paul Cretney, Josephine Skinner, Julian Day, Linda Dement, Luke Parker, Maria Cruz, Matthew Hopkins, Mish Meijers, Ron Adams, Tina Havelock Stevens, Tricky Walsh

aural notation/ graphic performance/ lyric equivalence/ language score/ word music / image scripts/ prose gestures/ eye vocals/ affect code/ spoken concrete/ ecstatic registration/

Patti Smith: poet, writer, musician, mythmaker, punk, photographer and icon. Patti Smith’s symbolist-driven lyrics and potent spoken-word performances, along with her recent prose memoirs, Just Kids, Woolgathering and M Train, have made her a reckoning force in music, literature, fashion and the visual arts. In the 1970s Smith’s impervious, androgynous stance, in juxtaposition with her fevered writing and intonation, bridged the image-conscious Warholian avant-garde, the subcultural ardour of the Beats, the dystopian visions of William Burroughs and the DIY culture of punk. Four decades on, Smith continues to hold a unique position of reference in the language and visual cultures we inhabit in the arts.

Much of Smith’s impact has resulted from the energy and the intensity of her spoken-word. It is the performative dimension of her language that this exhibition considers. Traversing the terrain of experimental music, avant-garde performance and concrete poetry, the artworks in this exhibition are responses to Patti Smith’s wielding of words.

1. I have found a temporary studio that is best described as perfect. I will be very glad to not see industrial machinery, consumables, equipment and other studio ephemera stored in multiple rooms of my home. I am looking forward to working with zero distractions for the next six months to complete outstanding projects and commence new ones.

2. The Stone Villa annual fundraiser is fast approaching and opens 18th December. All works are priced at $50 and are donated by excellent local artists.  

3. a 'Museum of Fathers: HoRses- HorSES- hORSES’, (20067-2015): While sorting out old paperwork last night, I came across an old invoice (one of two) from Crawfords Foundry. The work was cast in 2007 and not in 2005 or 2006 as I had originally thought.
3.b. During a testing period in my studio, I arranged the raw bronze elements on my studio floor with extant wooden positives. Sculptors often do this to test out the permulations of a work when there are multiple sections of a work to resolve. During this studio test-time I referred to this work using a player card language, as then Deal #4, as one of my Fathers is a gambler and the other was a Boxer.  

The other force is and was Stephan Rozciocin who boarded with my Step Father, Mother, Brother and I for a few years during the early 1970s. Stephan was an older Russian bachelor who made an indelible impression upon our family. My Step Father greatly valued Stephan's presence in the home as he was my Step Father's only real friend. He loved nothing more than to play chess with Stephan and to discuss all things politics, economics, philosophy, Russia and to belittle the capitalist system. It is important to note that my Step Father and his parents, both Poles, were interned in a camp in Arhangelsk during the war. Subsequently, my Step Father relished speaking about his childhood spent Russia with an older and well read Russian. It enabled him to re-tell and re-live his history with someone who understood what he had been through. When the Red Cross repatriated their camp at the end of the war, he and his Mother boarded a train that took them to a British Red Cross camp in what was then Persia

The point of these earlier paragraphs is to introduce some of the complexities of my Step Father's character. Some years ago when I was asking about his early life in Arhangelsk, he told me a story about having to fasten wooden slats to his poor quality winter boots. As he explained: when much ice melts- a forest quickly becomes a bog swarming with giant midges.

In Jan 2007 I collected one disregarded natural Christmas tree that had been dumped in our street. As I cut each section and hollowed out the inner sections, I did so, thinking of him. 

I increasingly believe that Stephan's departure from our family home marked the beginning of my Step Father's psychic demise and accelerated his profound sense of hopelessness and isolation. It was only after Stephan left the family home that my Step Father's gambling addiction kicked in. Subsequently, when I think about him, I always preface all my thoughts on him by remembering Walter Benjamin's essay on gambling. Needless to day, my Mother tolerated the situation for a few years and then, moved my Brother, herself, the piano and I out of the family home.

In a conversation with my Step Father last summer- he confirmed various points on Stephan. Yes, he actively worked as little as possible- choosing to live frugally. He did this, so that he could do what he loved best, read.  He would have died, by his own choice and on his own terms, a pauper.

Stephan taught me the law of the umbrella. As good fortune has it, both my Mother and my Step Father both believe in the law of the umbrella, despite their insurmountable differences.