In London last night, computerless, so this is yesterday’s square, Pay.
No need to say much; there’s a pay and pensions cauldron bubbling away right now and sooner or later it will boil over. (That’ll be the moment to post the square Strike !) If strikes there are, they will surely be born more of fear than greed.
Of course people feared for their pensions in 2003 too, then…the stock market went up and the hole in the pension funds melted away. Magic! (But did anyone who had lived even through the 80s and 90s actually think it was anything but a conjuring trick?)
As well as painting, printing and writing, I used stitching to ‘draw’ on most of these squares. I wanted the piece to resemble a patchwork quilt. When traditionally made of scraps and remnants and worn-out oddments – rather than specially-bought pieces of cloth – a quilt is literally a pattern of life and experience, one shake of the kaleidoscope. I hope there’s a bit of good mixed in with the bad here, even though as we all know newspaper headlines are not the same as real life!
Today’s square is one of the simplest in design, maybe just a symbolic tornado. This one hasn’t faded particularly and the text is easy to read: the few words speak for themselves. All, sadly, ever-topical.
For the original banner, made with collage on brown paper backed with cotton, I used a combination of light-fast and fugitive paints, dyes and inks. It was meant to be a bit of a lottery, like time itself – I wasn’t sure what would fade and how much, only that things would change unpredictably. I’ve never tried to sell this piece – I wasn’t sure how a buyer would appreciate a disappearing artwork! I don’t think it’ll fade any more now. But I love its current subtle, seasoned incarnation.
Among the fugitive colours were some holi paints brought back for me from India by my very dear friend. She’d seen people randomly throwing bright colours all over each other during the Holi festival. It sounded like delightful mayhem. I carried this on by experimenting with lemon juice, vinegar, salt and other things – don’t ask me what! – to fix or disperse the garish crimson, viridian and purple dyes. I combined them with other materials. More on those another day….
This is Square no.1, Fat Cats, from The Way We Live Now, my catalogue/snapshot of British society as represented by the news headlines in 2003. By coincidence I went to a film in a Brighton pub last night about the 2008 banking crisis. Called Inside Job, it unwinds the intricate network of reciprocal and astronomical rewards then (and still) operating in the financial world – and confirms my worst imaginings.
Now here we are again, in even worse turmoil, in 2011. So soon!
Some of the squares are a bit faded, this one particularly. That was part of the original plan and I’ll explain about the materials I used in another post. But I hope it’s possible to read the key words and get the picture. I imagined the headlines would fade with the piece: some hope….