One of the interesting events at the Q Art Presents exhibition at the APT Gallery in Deptford was an end of show convenor. Exhibitors were given the chance to talk about their work and have a Q&A session. I always find this process so helpful as it highlights elements of the work which are and are not working.
I find it interesting how universal our fascination with bones is. I think it’s something primal in us that makes us more aware of our own mortality. Part repulsion, part intrigue; a freak show of objects. I’ve found similar effects with fur, skin, and wood. We are drawn to our caveman past like staring into the flames of a fire.
This piece is called ‘Bones’. An intentionally literal title. It is a new version of a piece I first conceived of during my residency at the Chinese Arts Centre. The first Chinese calligraphy was found carved into bones so I thought it would be interesting to dye bones entirely with Chinese ink and use each bone as a calligraphic stroke, with smaller bone fragments mirroring the way the ink stroke fragments on textured paper as the ink runs out.
I opted for the character for bones partly because it is so literally describing what its made from, and that amused me. I was also motivated by the fact that, to me, the character looks like a human figure, showing both our bones as the framework of us, and elements of characters, letters, ink strokes, as the framework of language and visual language. ‘ told that the top of the character means flesh, and the bottom part means bones, together meaning bones. It is customarily polite to ask for a bone if you actually want flesh.
Thanks to Jess Blandford for the bottom photo. You can see more of her photos from the whole show here.
A huge thank you to Sarah Rowles who founded Q-Art, a great organisation, and Erica Shiozaki who co-curated the show with Sarah. A lot of hard work and a great result. There were some wonderful relationships occurring between the works in the show, particularly the triangulating black fragments in the front space. Bliss!