Residency ‘The Land We Live In, The Land We Left Behind’, Hauser & Wirth (Somerset)
In conjunction with the exhibition ‘The Land We Live In, The Land We Left Behind’, I am thinking of undertaking a work whose process will be informed by its circumstance: the (likely) interaction with the audience and the setting of an indoor, gallery space.
The Work Shed started with my taking of photographs of abandoned Christmas trees on the streets of London in January. With the support of Camden Recycling centre, I was able to go through the process of shredding their branches and keeping their trunks which were exhibited in June, during degree show: two, as part of the performative installation, Shed, including a live performance, a publication and a video.
I was performing the actions of knitting a giant yarn whilst eating strawberries, putting in perspective the dichotomies of inside/outside winter/summer nature/culture, ‘I’ and ‘the other’.
For this piece I have been using various points of reference, overarchingly, Henri David Thoreau’s line of thought and a direct reference to Walden, as well as the traditional storytelling in Hans Christian Andersen’s The Fir Tree, or 80’s Italian pop songs in perspective with the Icelandic contemporary karaoke culture.
Drawing from personal experience I am inclined to deliver a statement on how flimsy our minds are in their constant dissatisfaction of wanting what we have not, and when achieved wanting yet another (just like Andersen’s Fir Tree ). In the short film Grandma, Icelandic Christmas songs and the link between them, I took the example of an Italian 80’s song in which the singer was longing for the warmth of a lost unfaithful lover. This pop hit was then translated and reinterpreted by Icelanders who made a Christmas karaoke song out of it, the warmth of a lover is transformed into the heat of the Icelandic summer which they can’t stand anymore, and their longing is not for love but for the Christmas season.
Putting in parallel these two seemingly disjointed topics (Italy, my grandmother; karaoke and Icelanders at Christmas) is an attempt to show the relation between people, places and things, or, as the philosopher Gregory Bateson put “that the big relations and the small relations are all the same thing! For study’s purposes, you have to work with small ones, sometimes. [but] It’s all the same business.”
I believe that natural patterns are examples to draw upon in order to expand our understanding of interdependency and the mechanisms of cause and effect which come into play within our own lives.
Working with Ragnar Kjartansson on the piece Second Movement (2016), Barbican, I became particularly intrigued by his performance resulting in a series of paintings of the woods, embodying the figure of a romantic painter, in the “Blooming tree performance” at Rockeby Farm. Romantic yet ironic – performing the role of the romantic painter, and by doing so becoming one, he keeps the ironic distance of the performative, a means to make a comment about a specific situation through the situation itself. His wittiness is still authentic.
The prefabricated distance in our relation to landscape is found both in natural and urban settings. Similarly to artists’ legendary glorification of nature overpowering the art of the nineteenth, we see developing in an ever urbanised society an idealisation and romanticism of city life. Metropolis such as Paris, New York or London come with fabricated images, mandatory cafés stopovers, or culinary must- dos. Vehicles through tv series or romantic comedies, I heard multiple times the disappointment in tourist’s visits feeling that ‘they already saw it all in films’, once there, yet still daydreaming of a different lifestyle in a Parisian apartment.
I am interested in taking as a starting point of the residency the motif of the snow globe.
The quintessential city at hand, and a physical manifestation of this separation. A trapped miniature romanticised on command with the turn of a wrist. What would be the counterpart of a city snow globe applied to the country?
Humorous, performative installation, possibly durational (a play on the relation to time, ‘slowness of the country’) with elements of poetry, I am working with the ideas of living paintings and choreographed space, something close to a ‘set’. My degree show piece was of the same nature but in this instance I would think of something more flexible, modular and ephemeral.
These last considerations show the close connection between performative utterances and ecological concerns. By adopting a perspectival view of the I, the dichotomy between outside and inside is eventually brought together. In the conclusion of my essay Alarum, I came to think that […] consciousness, in its ability to take the I as a transcendent object, shows its ability to take the outside, as an object:
“For Landscape is an Ouroboros. A concept that chews its own hide. As a phenomenon, it is inseparable from the self. Landscape is impossible without us. We are ever in it, utterly immersed, and yet always at the same time, seeking separation from it; or, a high enough vantage point to put things properly into perspective. As a cultural idea, landscape is dependent on a sense of holism and unity, bonding self and the world. But that very relation is characterised by an existential tension, where proximity and distance work like opposing forces, forming what registers as subjective experience. Though we humans still insist on treating ourselves as sealed and sovereign beings, landscape is the living proof of our own permeability, blending states of interiority and exteriority[…]”
– Lorimer, H, Chair of Cultural Geography, Glasgow (2016) ‘The Mystery of Landscape’ Jerwood Open Forest, Jerwood Charitable Foundation.
In this romanticisation there is some resonance with my own parcours, growing up in the city (Paris, then London) and moving after graduation in the cold landscapes of Iceland, The Faroe Islands, Denmark then Norway. I am currently interested in islands both as geographical and metaphorical spaces, and the (surprisingly pejorative) notion of “insularity”. In my own ways, I am looking to make work which is not apart from the world but holding enough clarity not to be drowned in it. Spending a month in Somerset and particularly within this exhibition whose focus is so close to my own would therefore be a very beneficial time of research and production to reflect upon my diverse experiences after graduating and leaving city life.
As part of the AER Residency agreement, Tatiana Delaunay will be writing a report upon completion of her time at Hauser & Wirth (Somerset) which will be published on this blog site.
- Hauser & Wirth (Somerset)
- Centre for Sustainable Fashion
- Art for the Environment International Artist Residency Programme
- AER 2017 Residency at the Hauser & Wirth (Somerset)
The Art for the Environment International Residency Programme (AER):
In 2015, internationally acclaimed artist, Professor Lucy Orta UAL Chair of Art for the Environment – Centre for Sustainable Fashion, launched the Art for the Environment Residency Programme (AER), in partnership with residency programmes across Europe. Applicants can choose from a 2 to 4 week period at one of the hosting institutions, to explore concerns that define the twenty-first century – biodiversity, environmental sustainability, social economy, human rights – and through their artistic practice, envision a world of tomorrow.
Through personal research, studio production time, critiques and mentoring sessions with Lucy Orta and a selection of Europe’s most exciting cultural institutions, the residency programme provides a platform for creative individuals, working across various disciplines, to imagine and create work that can make an impact on how we interact with the environment and each other.
A distinguished selection panel will assess the applicants for this unique opportunity to partake in the UAL Art for the Environment Residency Programme.
NOTE: Applications accepted from UAL graduates, postgraduates and recent alumni (within 12 months from graduation date).