“Do you enjoy torturing yourself?”
The words of the production manager when she saw the first batch of painted scales for my upcoming installation- after I told her I was doing 2000 of them.
The task of creating what is effectively 2000 miniature abstract paintings as material for the Scales installation is starting to come home to me. On the other hand I’ve spun a roomful of wool into yarn, dyed over 300 unique colors (three times now) and other such maddening tasks for the sake of art.
A while back there seemed to be a fashion for compulsive art. When I was at the Museum School the common line of advice to students was “well, that thing is cool, but it would be really interesting if you did 2000 of them”. I always thought that was a bit silly. My main question is: to what purpose?
I will do all kinds of things for art, including obsessive detail or mass production if it fits the purpose and concept of the piece.
In this case I want more people to be able to participate in the work. I want that to be visible, I want a small grove of human objects layered with the expressions of many people. The Identity tapestry showed a layered history of people’s identities, but the last version I did only accommodated a bit over 300 people, and that happened in the space of a couple of hours.
The venue for this piece will see several thousand people. I want a significant amount of them to be able to participate. I want people to be able to see the writing of those people.