MY WORK HIS WORDS (Again)
An exhibition of recent works on both paper and canvas in collaboration with Andrew Kötting at The Claremont Studios St Leonards-on-Sea East Sussex
6th – 22nd December 2013
“VIBRANT, immediate and full of life and humour….
the exhibition comes from a deep relationship with her film-maker father
Andrew Kötting and has been buoyed by Project Artworks, an artist led
organisation that works with people who have complex needs”.
The Rye and Battle Observer December 2013
PASSENGER’S AUDIT for Andrew and Eden
In shafts of warming November sunlight – it’s a little past midday now, the best time to experience it – in the sail-makers’ loft, above the busy browsing street, we have cast anchor. And it does indeed feel like a ship’s cabin, timbered and creaking, with smell of rope and resin and turpentine, and everybody busy and shipshape, except for myself, the invited passenger. The outsider. Witness to this fabulous exchange of molecules. Father and daughter are once again about their lifelong collaboration, the lightly borne and mutually endured burden of mortality, of living in the same space at the same time – and somehow producing wonders.
Silhouettes blur one into another against the brightness of the window as he breaks off his excited explanation, his bun munching, to wipe her nose. Her hair is neatly, newly cut as she sits so calmly, musing on pattern-making borders of flowers and butterflies and stars and slivers of Islamic moon. She waits for him to stop his blather and set up the canvas for the next session. The wonder, to this invader, the landlubber who has climbed aboard, is how in strobing sunshafts his dust becomes hers, hers his, no hierarchy, no beginning, no end. Or how much older and quieter and surer, she is in her waiting, submerged into where she is. And how young and urgent-to-be-doing he seems, authenticated by the way she performs just what he asks, and spreads colour so thick and rich and bright on the canvas. My Work His Words (Again), he calls it, ventriloquising his younger (older) partner. Fatherdaughter, a conjoined entity, manufacture their Saturday art, their months of toing-and-froing, word and image, in quiet mountain retreat, or here in Old Town cabin. The voyage with painted telescopes and funny hats is endured like a pair of landed sailors working from memory towards the remembered ocean of the heavens.
Andrew, a free spirit, pagan and pantheist, argues against bigotry and fundamentalism by way of his written interventions in the purity of Eden’s paintings. And Eden obliges with quirk and charm, making the bearded patriarchs and popes into a frieze of dancing cartoon men, absurd daddies with all the venom and rant drained out. Andrew preaches (against preaching), quotes and misquotes, puns and splutters with captions that subtitle and surtitle the vivid panels of painterly paint.
Clive Scott in an essay on ‘Sebald’s Photographic Annotations’ makes a distinction between captions and ekphrasis. The caption is always a form of propaganda, telling us how to read what we see. ‘Ekphrasis makes text coincident with the perception of the image (not pre or post), intensifying the assimilability of the photograph’s past...’ And so it is with Eden’s paintings, her ‘works’. Which are also Andrew’s, as he sketches through her hands and eyes. And as his words are her words, her sounds and shapes, even if she doesn’t forge the rhetoric or share an interest in the theology. That both of them can find inspiration in zones or images identified by Andrew is lovely: photographs of hieratic figures, the Stargeezers, peering through huge telescopes, the obsessive patterns in the thwarted eros of outsider art. Eden makes innocent of it all, makes light, embroiders her serial borders with winking flowers. Her golden telescopes don’t have to look at the stars. They are magical, free-floating, Miro-comic. ‘So we invent things to do,’ Andrew says, ‘and move on.’
Iain Sinclair 2013 – Published in a Booklet to coincide with the Exhibition