A month has passed since the launch of #unsung and the period immediately following an exhibition is a special one (read: tricky, exhausting, low, odd). By the time that the work goes on the wall I have gone art blind- I can feel disconnected from my outpourings as I am so close to them I can’t ‘see’ them anymore. I hang them on the walls, letting them and their interrelationships dictate where who will hang in relation to whom.
The hanging process is magical- a mystery to me. The week before installing the work, when there is just enough time to alter things- to maybe paint the painting of all paintings EVER- I see my outpourings in panic mode: utter drivel, self indulgent shite, lacking in any rigorous critical engagement. Then I disconnect, an experience which I can only imagine is akin to when a child is flying from the nest- you have to disconnect a little to stop the pain, to limit the emotional impact of inevitable loss.
Then the opening night- a bit of me is excited, but there is something out of body about the night. I am over it by then, my attention is almost onto the next thing already. It is done, and a cloud descends- a huge sense of anti climax, a kind of post natal depression. I have planned, created and birthed, fuelled by adrenaline and blind faith.
The space after a show fascinates me. It is a difficult one to inhabit. A ‘fertile void’, a fruitful darkness. All that you have lived for, that has sustained you, is out there. Done. And now you have to begin again. You have to find something to spark you off, to inspire you toward generating more work that you will believe in and will become your world (and therefore that, indirectly, of those around you!) for months and months.
And so I drift in this fallow period, believing in its necessity but often feeling useless, directionless and pointless. Yet after the launch of #unsung I didn’t feel so bereft: I was aware in a deep way that this was a launch- just the beginnings of a project that has ‘legs’- that has a depth of engagement for me. Already I can see what’s next..And it is quietly remarkable to feel this way. I have rested (collapsed), I have designated a week in which I have cleaned and cleared my home, I have walked with my thoughts and now my energies are restored enough to re-enter the fray. I am unavoidably altered by the creation of phase 1 of #unsung. Each exhibition that you have, or each experience of putting your work out there for public consumption, is an act of bravery and since bravery and foolishness go hand in hand, you must feel like a fool at one point.
But I am reclaiming the fool as a character that I aspire to be: forever new, ready to laugh at the absurdity, constantly leaping into the unknown, having faith, being spontaneous and embracing folly. So, I’m not brave, I’m a fool and I am going to keep doing foolish things.