Autofiction by Claire Zakiewicz
I have always called London home since I was born there, south of the river, in 1978. When I was 25 I moved to Hoxton, which is in the central part of north-east London. I live in a tower block with an epic view and my art studio is 3 minutes away on foot.
When I was 9 I jumped out of my family car while my Dad was driving and my younger sister and I were dangling our feel out of the boot (trunk in the US). I wanted to find out what it felt like to fly through the air and I was curious to see whether it would hurt. It did hurt and I have the scars to this day but my curiosity and desire to fly has remained.
I make art full time and travel a lot. In 2013 I went to New York for an artist’s residency at the legendary PointB Worklodge in Williamsburg and I ended up staying there and getting an artist’s O-1 visa. I haven’t found anywhere else in the world where I am more productive and inspired than New York, which is why I keep staying there. I currently split my time between London and New York – although Venice is slowly becoming a third home as my collaborations with artist and architect Anita Cerpelloni and photographer Mark Edward Smith continue to develop.
Last March I was at Scotto Mycklebust’s open studio event in Chelsea, New York when I met Caroline Wiseman. Caroline is a highly intelligent, glamorous, and bubbly art dealer and curator. She has written an impressive range of art books – often with a scientific and philosophical slant. She was in New York to meet with a physics professor to discuss her upcoming book A Timeless Moment. As our conversation unfolded we discovered that we would both be in Venice for the opening month of the Biennale – putting on major exhibitions. She was curating Alive in the Universe, a show that presented a different video, performance or sculptural work per day by artists such as Sarah Lucas and Maggie Hambling, as well as a symposium on ‘time’ and a 3 screen video piece composed of one-minute films by a multitude of artists (including my own – the submission deadline was shortly after I met her).
So, I became involved in Caroline’s exhibition in Venice and spent as much time there as possible – viewing the changing works and meeting the fascinating stable of artists who arrived and departed daily.
For the past nine years Caroline has been running an artist residency at her home in Aldeburgh, on the Suffolk Coast in England, which is about a two hour, north-east drive from London. In front of her house and gallery is her iconic nineteenth-century look-out tower, built on the pebbles in the centre of the strip of beach that composer Benjamin Britton composed many of his musical works on. The building itself is a major point of interest in the town and Caroline’s artists put on exhibitions and work in the space for one-week residencies throughout the year. Before Caroline took over the tower. the writer Laurens van der Post wrote all of his later works there. It’s a three-story, three-room, weather-beaten structure with a spiral staircase going up the outer edge to the lookout room at the top. I am in residence here this week (July 22 – 28, 2019) to create and present a brand new body of work.
Having just come back from Venice where I exhibited Imprecision: The Aesthetics of Failure, my new work will combine elements from my breath drawings (focusing on basic movements of the body in relation to drawing) and observation through sound and sight. I’m going to focus on exploring the differences between internal and external observation – drawing the same scenes repeatedly, alternating from direct observation by sight and blindfolded at night.
The title for my project this week is The Primacy of Movement.
What is the difference between ‘internal’ and ‘external’ vision?
I want to reduce drawing – at least for a while – to a minimal practice whereby I explore modes of perception. My aim is to examine my intuition and instincts with and without sight.
Today is Monday and I am setting up a video installation, projected on the lookout tower as an extension of the site itself. I am also drawing from two vantage points by visual observation and at night I will be drawing blindfolded or in the dark. On Friday and Saturday this week I will be performing at the lookout between 7:30pm – 8:30pm.
“One, two, three, four’ the beats of Philip Glass’s opera Einstein on the Beach measure out time. Time is the heartbeat of the universe, towards the nemesis of creativity” reads the opening sentences of Caroline Wiseman’s forthcoming book A Timeless Moment.
This week is also a continuation of the work I produced for Wiseman’s exhibition Alive in the Universe.
What does it mean to be ‘alive’?
Simple gestures such as intimacy, touch, movement and interaction are being navigated by a third hand today, an external interface. So how do we understand this inherent complexity and the changing nature of “interactivity” and being ‘alive’?
Initiated from my participation in Wiseman’s Venice exhibition I will produce a series of hand-drawn stop-motion animations, performances and new paintings during this week.
These works will examine the ‘primacy of movement’ in relation to what the term ‘alive’ means today and continue my ongoing research with Imprecision: The Aesthetics of Failure.
This residency programme will also become a nexus for the exchange of ideas for the future of Alive in the Universe, which Caroline Wiseman plans to continue and take to museums across the globe.
My videos will be projected on the beach lookout exterior from 9:00 pm – 11:00 pm throughout the evenings and an exhibition of new drawings and paintings will be on view Saturday, July 27 and Sunday 28 from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm.
The lookout tower will also be open via appointment during the week.