Wednesday, 22 December 2010

The Pearl Art Prize

I have been away for some time, plotting in the basement. I am planning to make a video presentation of Operation Pusscat. I have ordered a pointer with a light on the end. I have designed a poster and logo for what will be "THE PEARL ART PRIZE", and that is about it. This paltry amount of work does not really excuse my lack of activity but Christmas is approaching, my mind has been on other things. Christmas is the only event that makes me feel more inadequate and disappointed than putting on an exhibition. But I still love it. So Merry Christmas readers and here is the logo.

Friday, 17 December 2010

What's in a Name?

William Shatner taught me a lot about what it is to grow older. I watched avidly as he wrestled men in rubber suits (often losing his shirt) and women in green body makeup (often losing his shirt). At this time he was James T Kirk, a laughing loving fighting hero. Later they swapped his initials and he became T J Hooker. Thankfully he no longer lost his shirt, although occasionally his hair would lift. Thomas Jefferson Hooker (Presidential? American?) James Tiberius Kirk (Imperial? American?). Miss AFJ Dover, when her ribs are healed, can perform an excellent "TJ Hooker roll" to steal the duvet I wouldn't call it elegant but it is effective.
She is sitting next to me at the moment writing her PHD while I ponder the rejection email I received from the fair Fiona at Standpoint. At first I paid it no mind, merely filing it in my (quite full) rejection folder. Since then, however, it has begun to trouble me. Why did I receive an email when it stated on the entry form that no further communication would be entered into? Miss Dover did not receive a rejection email. Indeed because of this she still holds some hope (a little bag is packed by the front door) calling out "Standpoint!" as every email arrives. All I can think is that, in my old age, I have become, like Mel Gibson (sort of), an artworld paranoiac. Did anyone else get that email?

This is another matter. At work we have just received these instructions on filling out the electronic registers. It looks straightforward enough.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Electric Moving Shadow Garden

Today's title is stolen from Andrew Bracey's essay in the "Unspooling" publication, a rather smart little book that arrived without fanfare yesterday.

It is a mistranslation for 'cinema' from Mandarin Chinese. I love these sort of (literal in this case) Chinese whispers. Apparently he wanted to use it for the title of 'Unspooling' but wasn't allowed. Now I want to make an electric moving shadow garden in my basement studio with strange flowers and flickering creatures. I shall experiment on bodies from the local morgue and seek out quickening fluids and etherial breath.

I finally had an email from Standpoint today. They had many excellent applications (not mine). The inestimable Mr Bracey was interviewed today, if he gets it Miss Dover and I will press our faces against his studio window for days and days on end. So now to read the rest of "Unspooling artists and cinema" and sulk into my tea.

Monday, 13 December 2010

No Future

Every time an email arrives my phone emits a self satisfied burp and I, eager for adulation, rush to see who it is from. All last week (and this) each time we heard this prefiguration of joy Miss Dover or I would yell out "Standpoint" and collapse into hysterics. Easily humoured we were well aware (especially as the week wore on) that Standpoint were not calling and we would not have to do a presentation on Wednesday. One of the non STANDPOINT! emails was from M's new Italian (or French?possibly Swiss) intern Miss Pietrobon who sent me a request for titles, sizes and prices for the work selected for the London Art Fair. She ended her email with:

"I hope to receive a quick response from you."

So I thought I'd better crack on. A couple of hours with a tape measure and a thesaurus and I was there. During the process I remembered my art teacher at school. Mr Hiddon was a science fiction illustrator, a fact he kept under wraps. It was only when I spotted his name next to a beautiful painting of a derelict spaceship that I realised he had another life beyond the rule of terror in his art room. The ship hung in space (as they do) but out of every window and hatch squeezed some sort of blob-like alien plant life. I titled some of my foam filled cars in his honour.

I couldn't find an image of this ship so here is something else. It isn't by Mr Hiddon, I think he would prefer it that way.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

For Legal Reasons the Contents of this Post May be Fictional

I learnt recently that you can have just about anything printed on an AA sign, "Nazi rally" or "Hamster Baiting" might prove difficult but there is certainly no need tell the truth. In fact if there is an AA sign in place perhaps whatever it indicates will come into being. In Ipswich, for some time now, there have been a number of such AA signs pointing towards the "Saatchi Gallery" apparently housed in the old art school on High Street. It is a new venture and does indeed have a show of work by Saatchi artists which ends in January. Next up is an exhibition of famous-ish and not so famous ex students and teachers who worked or attended the art school in it's glory days.
Yesterday a friend of mine accidentally ended up at Juergen Teller's birthday party. I don't think he wanted to be there and managed only to acquire a number of excruciating memories. ( of which, accidentally head-butting Sadie Coles when going in for a kiss, and having his exquisite gingerbread house compared to Heston Blumenthal's life size one are but two). Soon he was mercifully ignored and was able to overhear Sarah Lucas and others laughing hysterically about Ipswich's "Saatchi Gallery" and wondering what it was. "I must ask Charles when I see him tomorrow" says one. Perhaps the signs won't be up much longer.


I hear car doors and children, probably off to church or Christmas shopping. Miss Dover still sleeps. My night tremors keep her awake so I let her rest in the mornings. Monika arrived yesterday with her mother, a delightful Polish lady whose family had escaped the Nazis before the war. We ate biscuits and I showed her my family tree. Miss Dover and I had worked ourselves into a frenzy of anticipation before their arrival, pressing our faces anxiously against the window, peering down the street. Two smeary prints stand as slovenly testament to our nerves. It is ridiculous really, M is shy and gentle and seemed to enjoy her visit. At the end she said "I think I'll take" and indicated several pieces (the things I thought she might like). Afterwards though I fell into a sort of post interview paranoia. Should I have said this? Why did she not want to take that?

I had had another interview, only a day or so before. HR was ready to see me to arrange my reentry into working life. I was surprised to see that Miss W was a pale young lady some years my junior and, although she obviously had skills with the sniper rifle and email, in person was not as frightening. My phasing in (I like this, it sounds like Star Trek) begins next week. Whether or not I will ever be allowed to use the back door remains to be seen although I am hoping that my mentioning of the disability discrimination act may help.

Monday, 6 December 2010


Miss Dover fell down the stairs today. She was attempting to ascend to the top floor of Jobbington Community College (our place of work). The stairwell gets progressively hotter the higher one climbs and it has been suggested that it be used as a challenge in the next series of Superstars. She has fainted before while making this ascent and had made representations to the powers that be to be allowed to use lifts. The lifts, however, tend to break down if used and her request was denied. So today, within reach of the summit she passed out and fell down fracturing her rib. Claims Direct are camped like paparazzi outside our house as I type this report. They laid flowers at the door an hour ago and occasionally take a peek through the letterbox. All this could be some sort of karmic revenge. Miss Dover is in the process of making a number of films and photographs in places where such activities are strictly banned. Yesterday I was inveigled into carrying a small video camera around a very dark house. I was so rigid with fear of discovery that I shuffled round as if a ferret had managed to get halfway up my trouserleg and I, understandably, was trying not to enrage it. I will post some stills tomorrow when my Internet returns to functionality (if I survive my possibly litigious meeting with HR)

Sunday, 5 December 2010


Leon seems to be the place for meetings or work. Most tables seemed to hold groups of people talking over empty cups of coffee. Miss Dover and I had a rendezvous with Lock, Lomax and Thompson who sound like a legal firm of some note. We were planning the next stage of The Count of Montecristo, an evolving beast that looks like becoming as long and involved as Dumas' novel. The meeting went well largely due, I think, to Lomax's business acumen. I have been at other artist meetings that have lasted five hours and decided nothing. Ours lasted half an hour during which time we decided upon the episodic nature of the show; future venues to approach; the purpose of a (speculative) arts council grant application, the hire of a writer and an island holiday for six.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Would you like to know more?

Yesterday I had a phone call from Miss MacDonald at Standpoint. I handled it with my usual aplomb. At first I thought it was M calling about the London Art Fair so I launched into an exhuberent "Hi Monika" before the (exasperated?) caller was able to stop me and explain that I had failed to put my cheque in with the application. Of course I denied everything. 5 minutes later I called her back having found the cheque i teh bottom of my bag (Freudian slip?). Miss MacDonald was very good about it and told me to pop it in the post, there was buzzing in the background. Today I am receiving, and sending, communiques. Sophie Cardonne sent a proof of the Saison video publication for next year which I foolishly replied to in French. I am an idiot sometimes. I sent Holly (at the Norwich Arts Centre) some images for the website The show opens in January. I was most excited, however, to receive the photographs of Operation Pusscat from Spectrum Photographic. They are a series of A4 black and white prints of my grant application and emails. Here (in order to keep up the pretension) are some more black and white photographs of my photographs. I think I am quite pleased with them, but then, as they cost over £130, I have to be.

Finally on the Unspooling microsite there are some new essays commissioned for the show. I especially like Daniel Miller's piece. There is more but my feet are cold I cannot go on any longer.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


I have just received a lovely set of photographs of Pearlville from Andrew Bracey. I don't know who to credit for them but they are much better than the ones I managed to take on my phone. [stop press... They are by Brian Slater!] I must type quickly, it is so cold I can only spend short bursts at the computer. I need a suit like the eye maker in Blade Runner.