Sunday, 31 October 2010


I decided to make a lot of the work for Shredding Paper on site at PAD, exposing the making to the visiting public [Visiting public being a mixture of artists, crafts specialists, gallery owner/manager and the general public] in order to expose that process which is specific to each artist but also something incredibly personal for each artist, in order to generate dialogue/questions/feelings between artist and viewer and maybe contributing towards the idea that art can be something other than a object/thing/something [sorry for the very broad/not very good terms here!] but a process, that can be seen, shared and experienced. A two way process. 

I decided to advertise that I would be there at specific times on specific days for a week and these were the times that people could come and see the making/performances etc. Because I had advertised the times with a couple of hours between them e.g. 10 - 2, I found that I could really just concentrate on making as I didn't know when people would turn up, if they would catch me in the middle of talking to someone else, which is fine but what if they had come expecting a 'performance', to see something happening rather than me just sat there having a cup of tea? I didn't know if they would have any prior knowledge as to what was going on. With the benefit of reflection and looking back these questions don't seem so bad now, so what if they caught me having a cup of tea thinking or not in the middle of some intimate exploration? That is part of what I wanted to explore and expose. This did happen, alot actually! People coming in when I was just sat there staring into space, thinking, jotting notes or eating a biscuit! and I enjoyed it but at the time a part of me was thinking that some people would want to see some sort of performance and would be disappointed if they didn't. What I found really interesting [and slightly funny] was when I was doing small performances people didn't know whether to just 'watch' or to come over and talk to me as there was no obvious viewer/audience situation. I really liked the uncertainty of the viewer at times. There was a chance for people to come and see that performative making, more performance, me lost in the making but not as many people saw this. Next time I think I need to put on specific times for the performative/intimate making i.e 10-10.30am, make more of an event of it. But I feel this would require a little of knowing what I was going to do. 

Those moments of just making and exploring where really interesting. In the first few days there, as I didn't really know the space that well, I felt almost awkward within myself, moving around, bumping into skirting boards and knocking over work I'd just made. Visitors also kicked floor pieces over [by accident I hope!] but I found myself not minding at all, pieces not quite as I initially intended, as they were quite hard to see, I liked the suprise of the viewer. 

The resulting exhibition that was up for three weeks afterwards felt to me and looked incredibly polished. I wanted it to feel more like BUILT, like someone had just been there, the presence of the artist still to be felt, inviting the viewer to want to touch etc but it didn't, not to me any way. I think it must have been something to do with the space itself, the clean white walled space. The space at Rogue Studios for BUILT was nothing such, half of it looked a bit worse for ware. I don't think it was from a material aspect, the materials I used were same as the ones used in BUILT, with the addition large rolls of paper, some text pieces and a video piece. I feel that wanting to foreground process got lost in the final exhibition, apart from the video pieces playing showing aspects of me working. On the other hand, the size of the space and the time I had allowed for mistakes, risks that I felt free to take. Not a overly interesting space but one which I was able to find idiosyncrasies from and work with and the definite structure of the space, the lines I could trace with material and my own body and the reaction between the two - the space was big enough for that. I feel next time I would benefit from more site visits. A chance to understand what me being in the space would do to the space - if that makes sense.

Maybe that is one of the reasons I have applied for the AA2A residency at Salford: it will give ,me a chance to explore spaces outside of the 'gallery space' somewhere my work can fall over and be ok.

Even though I don't see what I do as 'rehearsal' I though this quote from a review on a Francis Alys exhibition from a old magazine I was reading whilst in the space at PAD was quite poignant,

'Rehearsal, after all is not a passive waiting but an active practice of keeping alive the wish for something better' 

Monday, 23 August 2010

Artist Talk

I will be giving a artist talk on 18.09.10 at 1pm at PAD, on my current work, Shredding Paper

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Monday, 2 August 2010

In conversation with Gavin Osborn

Below is an extract from recent email exchange on concepts/ideas/thoughts on my current practice. Dialogue with Gavin started after BUILT in response to the installation at Rogue Studios [01 - 08 April].

Lisa- I am much more interested in body as object rather than a subject. Exploring the reciprocal relationship between the materiality of objects and body. I want my body to be seen as material , moving in response to the other objects/materials and not an act that takes place with psychological motivations. I know that I can't help what the audience read into it, especially if a lot of the performance is left to chance or 'is of the moment' but my interests do lay in body as a material. Matter alongside matter or in combination with other matter, another object in space, I suppose this foregrounds materiality and process?
Gav- I think that's a great idea - particularly the succinct expression of it as 'matter alongside matter or in combination with other matter, another object in space' - it reminds me of certain types of dance. I think, as far as audience perception goes, it probably has to be established over a certain amount of time through how you interact with your materials - it seems to me that most of the things people tend to interact with accustom them to reading overtly psychological & narrative into things to start with, so maybe it takes some time for them to forget about psych 101 & see what's going on - what did you find from comments you got from the BUILT performance? Maybe I'm totally wrong & people lock in straight away!

In speaking of the artists body as a material, I also think that it could relate to the types of materials that I choose to work with, envelopes, thread, sticky dots etc. The materials I use, I like because I don't see them as anything precious. I am not afraid to damage, rip or tear them or do experimental things to them and obviously they are cheap and easy to source but another reason could be [and this relates back to how the artists body is seen within the performance as material object or subject etc] that they don't have instant 'bodily' connotations. Envelopes, cellophane windows and sticky dots on viewing - out of context - don't reference the 'body' automatically, so as a result the viewer doesn't see them as having a bodily relevance so when the body is on view [ the artists ] it could be seen maybe as a separate object - matter alongside matter
there's also the fact that they're 'universal' in the sense that most people will have handled them & will be able to imagine the sensations of your interactions - and perhaps in doing this, this is how they stop trying to read a psychological narrative or whatever into it, becuase as they watch you move & manipulate the material, they can imagine what this feels like - as if they were doing it - and this then removes any personal narrative they're trying to read, because actually they're there with you in the moment? and although the materials may have personal reading for them - opening an envelope, sealing one, using thread etc, even their own personal projections onto the materials fall away, because they're with you at that present moment?
Whereas if I used materials and objects that where of bodily reference, say for example water, clothes, food items etc I think the viewer would conceive of these items as having something to do with the body and this is even further emphasized by the fact that there is a body to viewer [the artists] responding and working with the materials, so the reading(s) from the audience would be more as 'subject' in the first instance - feminist readings etc? 
well, I guess if anything I suggest above is true, it might be possible to do it with other, more bodily related material (although I do think your envelopes etc are quite body-resonant, because of how we have to physically interact with them to use them); as far as feminist readings go, there's the usual business of people reading 'domestic' materials etc, and also how they manifest in the space, but how would you want it read, if you want it read as a body as material with other materials? is it gendered, or not? just 'a human'? just materials, other molecules that happen to be phuysically arranged as 'human body' not 'thread' or 'cellophane'?

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Exhibition - Shredding Paper

31.08.10 - 01.10.10

Lisa Gorton will present new works at PAD, Preston. 

Lisa’s work deals with the nature of drawing. It has evolved out of an enquiry into the relationship drawing has to sculpture and asking whether sculpture can be seen as drawing. Recent research has dealt with material tensions: the dependency of material on material, the reciprocal nature of support. Small, intimate installations generated through fragile everyday materials and the role of the body in this intervention.

New work at PAD will focus on small performative situations, exploring new materials through drawings and installation, focusing and responding to the specific idiosyncrasies of the gallery space.  

Preview - Thursday 9th September 6 - 8pm