RECURSIVE

“Beautiful, well considered show.”

“Wonderful exhibition – lightness of touch – forceful ideas and work!”

“Beautiful and playful reflective show – got me thinking”

Thank you to everyone who visited, participated and engaged with RECURSIVE, for me as curator, it was a fascinating investigation. A very special thank you to Hitomi Kammai, Ant Pearce, Simon Fell, Susan Francis and Dr Angela Fell for their enthusiastic cooperation and support throughout the project. A kind thank you to media sponsor Art Pie, all the artists who participated in the Art Pie open call, and Matthew Wood at Second Floor Studios/no format gallery, their support is very appreciated.  Here are some final images of the installation, along with a panorama view of the main gallery.

And as a final word on repetition, I’ll leave you with one of my favourite songs from the Talking Heads…

RECURSIVE installation (c) 2014 Jane Boyer

All Photos: Jane Boyer

RECURSIVE installation (c) 2014 Jane Boyer

RECURSIVE installation (c) 2014 Jane Boyer

RECURSIVE installation (c) 2014 Jane Boyer

RECURSIVE installation (c) 2014 Jane Boyer

RECURSIVE installation (c) 2014 Jane Boyer

RECURSIVE installation (c) 2014 Jane Boyer

RECURSIVE installation (c) 2014 Jane Boyer

RECURSIVE installation (c) 2014 Jane Boyer

RECURSIVE installation (c) 2014 Jane Boyer

 

 

Artists/Curator Talk

In conjunction with SLAM Last Fridays, RECURSIVE will be open until 8:30pm. It’s also Halloween night – I’ll leave the contemplation of repetitive and recursive tendencies in this tradition to you!

Artists/ Curator Talks, starting at 6PM at No Format Gallery.

Join us for an informal discussion with the artists of RECURSIVE. We’ll discuss personal history as muse and they way these artists have used it to create their works in the show.

A series of marks, neither measured nor equidistant, (c)2011 Jane Boyer

Details

Date: 31 Oct 2014

Time: Starts at 6pm GMT

Venue: No Format Gallery

Admission is FREE

Address: Second Floor Studios & Arts
Harrington Way (off Warspite Road)
Woolwich
London
SE18 5NR


Here is a short excerpt from our discussion that evening. Susan Francis talks about her work and the significance of titles:

100 Kids

On Friday, 24 October 2014, RECURSIVE is going to be transformed by the questions of 100 thirteen and fourteen year olds – OMG!

Greenwich Free School – Year 9 will be joining us as part of a tour around Second Floor Studios & Arts.

They’re on a one day visit to no format gallery, Thames Barrier Print Studio, the Education Space and one-on-one (well, one-on-100) professional visits to artists and makers studios.

I’m ready though. I think I know how to answer, ‘Wots that then?’


The question I had most today was, “Miss, I don’t know what to draw, what should I draw?”

It was a delight to watch these kids ponder the artworks. Sometimes they were utterly baffled, sometimes they simply enjoyed their own creativity, and at others they really engaged with the works, looking carefully as they drew. Speaking with one of the teachers, I learned that Greenwich Free School is a new school in its third year and they are just beginning to build an arts education programme. Today’s visit to RECURSIVE was their first experience of a white cube space.

The encouraging thing behind this story is the parents. The parents of Greenwich Free School wanted their children to receive education in the arts and so the school is working to meet their demand. The new east wing of the school, which houses the art studios, will open next year. Any child educator and good parent knows the importance of learning through sensory stimulation and broadened experience, this is what art in school provides. Today I saw some kids who felt self-conscious about their lack of drawing skills, but were curious about other issues related to art, like why some smudges were worth millions. Other kids were proud of the drawings they produced and this gave them confidence. Overwhelmingly, the task they enjoyed the most was working collaboratively to create a still life drawing. Each mark was their own mark in the bigger picture.

Here are some pictures from today…

GFS_students1_reduced

GFS_student drawing_reduced

GFS_students 3_reduced GFS_student work 1_reduced

GFS_students 2_reduced

GFS_student work 3_reduced

The Weight of Absence

Ssshhhhh (c) Susan Francis

Ssshhhhh (c) Susan Francis

And the final interview in our short series, a discussion with Susan Francis. Susan is very active in her practice. She is currently involved in the touring exhibition Cicatrix, is artist in residence at Solent University, and is working on a commission with 5x5x5 Creativity which is supported by Bath Spa University. I’m very pleased she is part of RECURSIVE.

I recognise the fragile and precarious place from which Susan draws inspiration. It’s a place of transience, persistence, aggression and silence, encompassing the full range from positive to negative in human experience. It’s a place of innocence which has been compromised. Susan says,

“The two works [in this show] derive essentially from the momentary, that which, at their point of inception, were already a fleeting history. Process and presentation allows first the artist and then the viewer to lift them from their transitory lifespan, dissect and linger over their context, removed from the confines of linear time. I am interested in these fleeting moments, mundane and transitory. Not with the emotional eye of the related, but with the detached gaze of the observer. Presentation, or whatever it is an artist does, is simply an invitation to take part in that exchange.”

  1. You often stand outside of the subjects of your work, as a voyeur watching and observing. Why do you take this position and what role does it play in thinking about your own experiences? Do you worry that viewers may assume these are your experiences?

I suppose I haven’t intentionally taken the role of the outsider in my work but rather I feel I have naturally transferred to this position as my work has developed. It stems, I think from a range of stimuli. I grew up in Belfast in the 70’s where, despite the Troubles playing out around us, my parents kept the door firmly closed on sectarian politics and divisive cultural traditions, a step which, although taken in good faith, perhaps denied us the almost tribal sense of belonging shared by some of my peers. We neither fitted the cultural, educational or ancestral norm. We purposely took the position of outsiders.

Also I have a great draw towards narrative in my practice and every narrative, of course, requires a narrator, a position which permits a certain safe distance from which to view more subversive or emotive subject matter.

Thirdly, progression into video, which runs alongside the objects and installation, has very much allowed me to step back into the position of the voyeur, in a sense allowing me to join the onlooker behind the lens of the camera. It is a position I enjoy.

Do I worry? No.

  1. Is there a big difference in your mind between the work you produce with objects and the work you produce in film? Are there commonalities? And what makes you choose one medium over the other?

I can understand why this seems an obvious question to the onlooker, but as the artist, this dichotomy never really features in the process of making work. At any one time in my studio, the floor and shelves are full of objects, materials, sketchbooks full of scribbled ideas and the computer full of images, sound excerpts and gathered footage, all of which feed in and cross over within the themes I am exploring. At times film will progress to working with objects and vice versa, or, at times, remain entirely separate.

Commonalities come down to the working process, the weighing of absence against presence in installation, object against space and likewise in film, image against blank screen, sound against silence. The balance of these elements for me is critical and it is this balance that concerns me both on and off screen. But each work chooses its own media.

  1. Is repetition important to your work or your working method? If so, does this cause you to repress aspects of your artistic intention or does it liberate your intention?

Repetition manifests itself practically in my work less so recently I suppose but continues to linger more so in the development of a conceptual language. A background in the Protestant church (my grandfather was a vicar in the Church of Ireland) has led to an early relationship with symbolism and the transformative role of repetitive liturgy as a vehicle to understanding, so in a sense, it is a structure I am comfortable with. It has, however, the potential to bring about stagnation and I do recognise, as you say, how the use of repetition could so easily slip into a repressive force as much as a liberating one. As such I use repetition with great care and a certain amount of trepidation in my work. Recently I have been dipping in and out of Bourdieu’s Distinction which illustrates just how locked we our within the historical and social framework we were born into. At our most basic molecular level we are, after all, the product of repetitive creative structure so it seems only natural that we should create in this vein. Using it as a process to propel us forward however is where the secret lies I guess. Participating in this show will no doubt encourage us all to examine our relationship with repetition more closely which I’m looking forward to.

Clever Cow! (c) Susan Francis

Clever Cow! (c) Susan Francis

 

Discussion Four

recursive jitter (c)2014 David Riley

recursive jitter (c)2014 David Riley

recursive

‘What if there was no repetition’ generated a really great discussion, well worth a read through the comments. Here are some contributions which came out of this discussion, starting with some work created by David Riley: Recursive Jitter and Recursive. David has been brushing up on his creative programming. If you click on Recursive Jitter it will take you to the active programme, the image here is just a snapshot. Recursive is a simple example of recursive programming code. You can see more of David’s work on his website, CODED IMAGES.

In addition, LOLFACEMCTHISONE shared the fascinating world of quasicrystal structure. Not only are their physics different to other crystal structure, and are non-repeating structures, but medieval Islamic art was producing these forms in mosaics such as the Girih tiles 500 years before they were discovered in the West. Here are some images from google of these structures:

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What if there was no Repetition?

Sel-similarity barb (c)2014 Jane Boyer

self-similarity barb (c)2014 Jane Boyer

My own artwork is leading me to research the mechanisms, structures and relationships between simulacrum and autobiography, this naturally involves repetition – a lot of repetition. RECURSIVE has been a starting point for this study in a way, by peeling the layers of repetition and sort of mulling it over. We’ve discussed some of what repetition is, how we react to it, when it frightens us, and whether it even exists. All this begs the question: what if there was no repetition?

After thinking, ‘oh, that would be interesting…’, then I panicked. Can you imagine a world without repetition? It would be a world of singularity and we would have no reference points, no memory, no experiential knowledge, no rhythms.

What do you think? Can you imagine a world without repetition? Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

 WHAT IF THERE WAS NO REPETITION?

The Eternal Return

janeboyer

I came across this from “Difference and Repetition” as I was making a reply to Hitomi on ‘A Different Repetition’: “For it is perhaps habit which manages to “draw” something new from a repetition contemplated from without. With habit, we act only on the condition that there is a little Self within us which contemplates: it is this which extracts the new – in other words, the general – from the pseudo-repetition of particular cases. Memory, then, perhaps recovers the particulars dissolved in generality…It is in repetition and by repetition that Forgetting becomes a positive power while the unconscious becomes a positive and superior unconscious (for example, forgetting as a force is an integral part of the lived experience of eternal return).” (p.8-9).

This makes me think of the cult movie “Paris, Texas” directed by Wim Wenders, written by Sam Shepard. Harry Dean Stanton’s character is portrayed as wilfully wandering the American desert to forget. It’s a powerful image and one which perhaps illustrates Nietzsche’s ‘Eternal Return’. Am I on the mark here? What do you Nietzsche fans think?

Here’s the amazing opening scene from Paris, Texas: