I’m featured in an article within an interesting and relevant ezine called Design Philosophy Politics that is published and founded by Team D/E/S (Developing Ecological Sustainment), a sustainable design consultancy and publisher based in south-east Queensland, Australia. Article here
Jamie Tolagson sent me this quote which I also really like. Johns said this apparently in response to an interviewer trying to pin down his intentions.
“Intention involves such a small fragment of our consciousness and of our mind and of our life. I think a painting should include more experience than simply intended statement. I personally would like to keep the painting in a state of shunning statement, so that one is left with the fact that one can experience individually as one pleases; that is, not to focus the attention in one way, but to leave the situation as a kind of actual thing, so that the experience of it is variable.’
When you begin to work with the idea of suggesting, say, a particular psychological state of affairs, you have eliminated so much from the process of painting that you make an artificial statement which is, I think, not desirable. I think one has to work with everything and accept the kind of statement which results as unavoidable, or as a helpless situation. I think that most art which begins to make a statement fails to make a statement because the methods used are too schematic or too artificial. I think that one wants from painting a sense of life. The final suggestion, the final statement, has to be not a deliberate statement but a helpless statement.”
We all make statements about work ,I try to keep mine open ended. In photography it is easy to end up illustrating ideas or as an earnest presentaion of socio-political observations .
What is hidden is energized
‘Helpless statement’ is interesting.We associate the word helpless with vulnerability. However, here I think he means to turn it into its opposite as well.Meaning, the work doesnt need help and therefore the statement is helpless. The work has become a force and a presence . Language and other signs that shape and mediate perception are at the centre of his art and this ‘helpless statement’ underlines that.
From the book ‘About Looking ‘ by John Berger (which I recommend-especially the piece on animals, humans and zoos). I was reading this book last year and wrote down his short commentary on this landscape by Jean Francoise Millet. It resonated strongly with me concerning my project in the fields titled ‘Fertile Geometry ‘
‘…….. a painting of the starkest simplicity.Scarcely a Landscape but a portrait in November of a plain.The horizontality of that plain claims everything. To cultivate its soil is a continual struggle to encourage the vertical. This struggle, the painting declares, is back breaking.’
……his experiments with context sought to reconstitute “ordinary” objects in such a way as to highlight ..the power of the perceptual over the physical world. In 1964 he explained, as fulsomely as he ever would, what it was he was trying to do: “I am concerned with a thing’s not being what it was, with its becoming something other than what it is, with any moment in which one identifies a thing precisely and with the slipping away of that moment.”
from: © Guardian News & Media 2008