Bill Viola At The Grand Palais Paris
There’s been so much happening this summer – good start in Paris in June – Visited the Grand Palais exhibition of Bill Viola .We were there en famille – all 8 of us – so I was apprehensive given the diverse age range of the family and given his work can be quite slow to reach a conclusion of some kind. The films were staged events – mimicking realtime footage in some cases – you asked yourself as a viewer what exactly was the storyline – if any – and what did Bill Viola want from you ? At times the works became an exercise in patience – how far could he push us as an audience – at what point was it enough ?Perhaps this was due to there being so many films ongoing in different galleries – how much of the day did you have to see them?
Visually they were simply beautiful – with dramatic sound tracks – all encompassing – quite something . The scale of production – the acting – the simultaneous storylines alongside one another – the viewer creates the story as the films develop. In the end – the films are linked – actors from one appear in the next – the storylines connect – it was all very clever. We spent an hour and a half there – which was impressive .When we all emerged we looked at each other outside in the sudden brilliant daylight , nodded and went on to find cheese and lunch as one does when in Paris. That’s what Art is I thought – a brief intermission from daily existence – a space to ponder before continuing with the familiar …..
June 16th 2013 – that’s almost half the year gone…..well its been an unusual year so far……. My news ? Well …there is the ‘Depositary Art Show’ to speak of – part of the Brighton Fringe Festival – I was invited to exhibit alongside artist Elaine Bewley and to produce work on the theme ‘Depositary’ . It was a great experience and the past 5 months has been devoted to creating the artwork. In short , working on this project took me to the far reaches of the desert – to a place both real and imagined , stirring up memories of journeys passed .Through such a cold cold winter in a totally freezing studio , I worked on the idea of intense sunlight and desert dust. Transporting my mind to memories of the heat – intense and comforting and remembering the light of arid, empty surrounds , I became my younger self …when my life was spent in the sunlit terrain of both sides of the Mediterranean. It was an easier , more inviting existence involving hours spent outdoors breathing the warm air and enjoying the freedom of sunshine . When I lived abroad I was always the travelling artist. I filled sketch books with drawings of the places and people I found myself surrounded by . With an old Rollei camera a Hollywood friend lent to me , I took photos of the tiny islands I managed to reach after days of waiting around on small island jetties for the small boats to take us further. Depositary made me see how anything can trigger memory – how there really is no accurate way or satisfactory way of recording what a place and time meant to anyone really. Capturing memory is perhaps totally impossible but these works are my artist’s attempt. To see the work go to http://www.susankeshet.com and select ‘Depositary Art Works’.
Desert Dakota Oil on wood in window frame
Copyright Susan Keshet
Don’t miss Charline Von heyl at the Tate Liverpool – on until later in May.Her work is refreshingly experimental – she makes a point of creating work with a diverse range of styles.She is married to the wonderful artist Christopher Wool (a personal favourite) and both their work contains a grittiness and and a freedom to it which is refreshing to see. Well worth the visit I thought .
A few months ago I visited a local Boot Fair where one of the stall holders gave me a huge collection of slide photos for free. There were the photos of strangers – from their past holidays – all of which seemed to be organised tours – packages of places.These were not true representations of the world but rather versions created by and for the tourist.
They are an archetype of the non-place.They have an atmosphere of alienation .In some there are crowds of people who remain strange to each other – united in tourism yet in reality apart .
In others there are huge tree lined boulevards – built for the automobile and daunting for the pedestrian .They made me wonder about how these places were before man’s impact .
‘Place and non place are rather like opposed polarities:the first is never completely erased, the second never totally completed:they are like palimpsests on which the scrambled game of identity and relations is ceaselessly rewritten.But non-places are the real measure of our time.( Auge 1995:79)
This idea of the palimpsest interests me greatly.The idea of place as both concrete and imagined and the resultant layering of both.Perhaps life in the west is becoming less concrete and more imagined – our take on the world influenced enormously by our past experience and the ongoing growth in technology. Do we live now in surrounds which are overwhelmingly the product of the imagination – or has it always been that way?Perhaps it is simply natural that we attempt to impose order over chaos – for centuries man has tried to get a handle on nature – think of farming as an example.
The urban sprawl portrayed in my latest paintings are imaginary worlds.Taking details from different slide photos I have created works which are in effect palimpsests – comprising elements from different photos.An overlapping of recorded moments – a collage of time and place.They are composites of moments and places experienced by an unknown photographer combined with photographic slide images from souvenir shops .They are more about how we experience and remember place not just by direct perception alone.Our expectations of place ( based on many things such as the media or the tourist industry ) , alter how we ultimately respond to it. These images are collages of the physical and the psychological which go together to make place what it is.
It’s been a while since I last wrote anything.Partly to do with the sheer quantity of stuff to attend to since finishing college and partly to do with having the freedom not to write my blog – which of course is a demon of my own making.
So what’s new?Latest is I have found a studio space.It’s in Portslade – near Brighton (UK)- and I have been there now for a couple of months.Most days I go there for a few hours and so far I have been thoroughly enjoying it.Here are some photos.
I have also been busy creating work – some of which was exhibited this last week in the art show #OffBeige – as seen below.
This piece is called Caffe Latte.
This work takes an ironic look at today’s revolution in technology and inquires whether despite having ever growing means of communication – we are somehow becoming more islolated?
‘Caffe Latte’- a shade off beige – asks whether the price of new innovation and technology could be higher than we realise – or could it be that the slow erasure of traditional rituals is inevitable in this exciting world of ever changing invention.
The show was organised by two brilliant women whose company is called ‘Collate Presents’.It was an international affair – which fortunately for me was in my home town of Brighton.
Find out more – http://www.collatepresents.com