For an interview for LUX Magazine with the photograher Maryam Eisler, on making art  in lockdown during COVID -19, I’ve been pondering home - the place to which we return to, leaving the trace of our existence pressed into the surfaces. We use it, take it for granted, consider it a place to leave behind or ignore, but ultimately, it’s the only something when there is nothing. When disgraced politicians screw up and are spat out of a glamourous fast-paced public life, they talk of going ‘home, (“to spend more time with their families” ‘ allegedly). I read once a Michel de Montaigne essay I wanted to quote here (to write this I’ve skim re-read Montaigne, never a waste - as he is so entertaining, and can’t find the text) , but here it is as I remember it: we are born in a bed, move into a room, a home, a village, a city, out into the world, busy and full of our affairs, then at the end of life, our existence condenses again - the town, the home, the room, the bed. The flesh of the fabric that accompanies our unconscious existence at home, where we are now sequestered, is what is currently interesting me. The weight of the bed that holds us, to which we nightly return and occupy at our most vulnerable. The weight, the pleasure the pain carried immanently within the flesh of the fabrics that describe and contain this eternal return

 

These are from my new back bedroom studio. I’m working on what’s in front of me - fabrics worn from touch, painted on cotton rag paper, which is all I have to hand. The oil from the paints leaches out in a stain and the paper becomes worn and bobbly, all speaking to the materiality of the subject. Britten happened upon a harp manual and a second hand copy of a little known book ,The English Galaxy of Shorter Poems in Halifax, Nova Scotia, when his boat stopped for refuelling, on his way back to Europe after some years in America. With it he composed what I think is his best work, A Ceremony of Carols. Serendipity. Read more here

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