Monday, November 13, 2006

The Finissage

John Hayward invites me to a show he has put on. It’s in a derelict house on some of his land. Or is it rented? I can’t tell. Either way, it’s pretty creepy. I’m wandering round corridors and rooms that look like they haven’t been inhabited for some time. There’s a sort of party going on in one room, but it looks a bit dodgy. There's a bunch of blokes jostling each other about in a way that suggests that real violence is only the flick of a knife away.
I go further down the corridor, into another room, looking for the toilet. The room is huge and as I walk across the floor I suddenly feel a hand touch my face. This isn’t as frightening as it sounds, given how spooked I already feel. I look up and see a small girl looking down at me thru the ceiling, her hand still resting on my cheek.
I lift up my arms and bring her down through the hole. I carry her under my arm, her hands around my neck. Her name is Maryam.
I think the room with the party going on has kicked off finally into a fight and I feel very protective towards Maryam. Later, as the sun is rising her name turns out to be Lisudysani. I hand her over to what I assume are her parents and check my watch. It’s 11.30am. The whole night has just disappeared. And now I’m late for a meeting that was scheduled for 11.00am. I can’t believe I’ve messed up like this!
Why didn't I check the time earlier?
Then I wake up.
In the evening I go to Andrew Mummery's for a low key little event which is Warren Neidich's finissage, his drinks party to close his show.
I shake his hand, get a glass of wine, as many canapes as I can hold in one hand and wander the show.
Warren has put up some photos from a series of works called Earthling (1 and 2). I like these. I don't quite understand what they are on about but they are easy to like because they look quite funny and quirky. In each photo there is always someone holding a magazine or newspaper up to their face so that one of their eyes can peer through a hole cut in the picture on the page where someone else's eye should be (above). It's like animating a face.
There's more to it than that - you know what Warren's like - but I like them just the same. The magazines and newspapers come from different times and countries, clearly at odds with the surroundings in which the readers are placed. It's like he is mixing up history and place and understanding. Are the people in these photos looking out, or are the images on the magazines themselves looking out?
I glance at the press blurb: 'Apparatic Unconscious', 'a fetishistic network of becoming', 'a narrative that is not really a narrative', 'diachronic, Eurocentric pictorial iconography', uh huh, yes, yes, hm, hm, yep, that sounds like Warren alright.
Mathieu Copeland is there. I say that I seem to be going thru a phase of him recently. Wherever I go, he is there. 'Most likely,' he says, 'we are the only people who go out on a Monday...'
He could be right.
Also on show in the gallery tonight are some works by Alexis Harding. He does paintings that fall off the canvas and end up on the floor. I've seen his work in reproduction but never in the flesh, never actually falling off the canvas.
I think these are interesting works because they seem to be throwing their hands up in despair at painting. What can you do, they seem to be saying, what can you do?
It's all gonnna end up on the floor, whatever happens.
I wonder if any of his works cling to the canvas long enough to make it into someone's private collection? That'll look great in your posh living room, sticking like toffee in your nice posh carpet...
I take a couple more canapes and say thanks to Warren and head off.
La finissage is finished for me.


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