January Review Statement

 

June 2009 ended with the question “Can Art Fill The Gap?” Having struggled with the existence of the Lacanian Das Ding, and its unsatisfactory existence, not only in individuals but in society as manifested community voids, I was left with the problem of whether art could fill this gap and if so, how?

 

The problem of, what do I do with this, is reminiscent and as daunting as being left with my friend’s 6 month old baby and being told “there you go, she’s your responsibility for the week now, bye!” First I fumbled with ideas of self-reflection, in loose self-portraits and allowing viewers to glimpse crafted intimacy, but I felt critically this did not have the desired effect. The pure self-portrait process did not fill the gap, it explored it individually, but it did nothing to resolve it.

 

Perturbed I refocused most of my attention to filling the community void, through research and putting this to test in my 8 month project working with an art group of severely disabled service users at Park Avenue Disability Resource Centre. I based my dissertation on the  premise that the community void, Das Gemeinschaftsding, could be positively filled by art, and that this was a real method, which could be physically seen and therefore physically open to professional criteria and judgement. Putting art to work; that it has a social responsibility and cannot just sit in an inaccessible gallery.

 

I cumulated this piece with an exhibition of the work of the Service Users and an event where they, carer’s, University staff and students were invited to socialise, professionally discuss the work, eat and drink, and where everyone was asked to jointly paint a large communal canvas. The exhibition was very successful and everyone who took part seemed to benefit in a variety of ways. However a conversation between myself, a Service User and one able bodied attendee continues trouble me. The Service User stated “I wish I could come to a place like this” and was immediately answered by another with the reasons why she never could.

 

With this in the foreground, I continued working towards finding an individual solution to the void, and coincidently I was booked to have surgery at this time. Like many people, this prospect was unwelcome and tapped back into all the primal blackness and fears of my own Das Ding, I resolved to take a dose of my own medicine, reverse the role of my community clients and treat my own Das Ding by confronting it with my art.

 

It was very successful, I found a changed perspective as I turned the surgery into an event of significant artistic opportunity, and enticed my surgeon into the role of photographer.

 

I feel that something important happened here and the work which has resulted from this is an exploration into the filling of the gap. Although this is something which I cannot yet totally grasp, I feel that there is something valuable here which can be used on a wider scale towards the work of Das Gemeinschaftsding.

 

 

My work and research continues from this point.

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