Sunday, May 19, 2013

May 19th, 2013
In the bright crystal of your eyes
Show the havoc of fire, show its inspired works
And the paradise of its ashes.
- Paul Eluard

Thursday, May 16, 2013


As Paul Valery says, in the arts of fire: ...there can be no giving up, no respite; no fluctuations in thought, courage or humor. These arts prescribe, in its most dramatic aspect the close combat between man and form. Their essential agent, fire, is also the greatest enemy. It is an agent of redoubtable precision, whose marvellous action upon the substance offered to its heat is rigorously limited, threatened and defined by several physical or chemical constants that are difficult to observe. Any error is fatal: the piece is ruined. Whether the fire dies down or whether it blazes up, its caprice means disaster... (for Alison Trent)

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Psychoanalysis of Fire - G.B.

Modern psychiatry has made clear the psychology of the pyromaniac. It has shown the sexual nature of his tendencies. On the other hand it has brought to light the serious traumatism that a psyche can suffer from the spectacle of a roof or haystack that has been set on fire, from the sight of the great blaze of fire shining against the night sky and extending out over the broad expanse of the ploughed fields. Almost always a case of incendiarism in the country is the sign of the diseased mind of some shepherd. Like bearers of sinister torches, these men of low degree transmit from age to age the contagion of their lonely dreams. The sight of a fire will cause some men to become a pyromaniac almost inevitably as a pyromaniac will some day start a fire. - Fire and Reverie, Gaston Bachelard, 1938

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Lifting and Pulling - 1997

Lifting and Pulling - an exhibition at PEKAO 1997 (thanks Townsend)

Think of a simple physical action. Think of the simple actions that that action involves. Distill these movements down into their component parts and eventually you will make a simple discovery; no matter what you do, in some way lifting and pulling is always involved. Lifting and pulling are to humans as prime numbers are to mathematics. And any physical action is just a multiple of these lowest common denominations of the physical world.

Lifting and Pulling are not part of the same movement, they are part of everything we do, but not always actions acting together. When you breath, for example, air is pulled into your lungs causing them to lift and expand. But when you type, you lift your fingers on and off pressed keys. And when you run you lift a foot off the ground, pull it forward, drop it back to the ground and do the same again for the other foot.

Originally I wanted to move a rock; this is a simple action that probably predicates sapience in humanity. But like Sisyphus, every time that I felt that I had dealt with the problem of the rock everything rolled back down to this fundamental problem of lifting and pulling. Moving a rock is essentially the same as moving anything - it contains the same simple movements and the same planning or lack of planning - which makes it intrinsically similar to everything that we do. A rock is an extremely constrained piece of subject-matter. Yet at the same time moving a stone is somehow, symbolically at least, a gargantuan subject. It represents in the abstract at least every action, from a breath of air to a heart attack, and everything in between.

The desire to move a rock is a desire that we all seem to have, even if we have never picked up a rock in our lives. The rock stands there, planted in the ground, ready for generals to build civilizations out of it, ready for the farmers to plant seeds around it and ready for thinkers to sit and think in it's shade. Moving a rock is a first act of creation; when the rock is gone there is a new and fertile space to build.

A rock is creativity as yet unleashed. When a rock has been moved, something has always been done. Even if this something is just the simple act of moving the rock to another just as inconvenient place. A rock is every action. To move a rock requires the thought, the lifting and pulling and the time that are fundamentally parts of every action.

So, for this show, I have built a sled, several pulleys, a crane, ... All these things interact with rocks by either lifting or pulling or a combination of both actions. And so, by default all of these sculptures represent the tools and actions necessary to do something, anything.

Neither the rock, nor the finished movement of the rock are necessary and I have not included then in the show. Just as the rock represents an action not yet done, the tools (sculptures) represent the work that is necessary to transform the action into its completion, and the finished location of the rock representing the action completed. Instead I have chosen only to examine the work as it is being done and the tools that help with this labour.

- Michael Wickerson, 1997 (Townsend knows me too well)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wickerson Studios
1. work outdoors
2. value the seasons
3. utilize natural light
4. watch the sunrise
5. follow the moon
6. let the weather control the temperature
7. it all returns to the earth
8. everything exists in a long term landfill
9. endure, breath, move
10. the heart is the only motor
11. all we are is our mind and our health
12. shovel, dig, make bricks