Monday, February 26, 2007
Recess with Kate Terry
Here we are…
The first installation of Recess with our recently exhibited artist, Kate Terry who currently lives and works in London, England.
This particular discussion is based around the work Interference at Mercer Union as well as her multiples, also available at the gallery.
CT: It was interfering...But why not, "Contravene"? "Obstruction"?
KT: To me, those words obstruction sound a bit more emphatic, more forceful, more definite. The installation doesn't block the viewers' path, but it subtly suggests a direction or a perhaps a new way of mediating that space.
CT: I'm also caught into thinking about air-wave interference/static as well as physical and spatial concerns.
KT: My work interferes with the gallery space, but in a very careful and fluid way. I like the reading of static interference, like a combination of waves that reinforce and build on each other or cancel each other out.
CT: Would you ever consider mediating the space using more advanced technology than the needle and thread? Holograms are the first things that come to mind.
KT: I don’t actually like holograms that much; I’ve always found them a bit underwhelming, even crappy (well the ones that I’ve seen anyway). In some ways I think of holograms as being the opposite of what I do. They rely on advanced technology and a sophisticated manufacturing to create an optical illusion with a definite outcome.
I’m interested in taking the most ordinary of materials and referencing overlooked crafts to produce something in which the outcomes are more uncertain. I am interested in visual and spatial illusions, but I like seeing how they’re created, I always want to see the workings.
I’ve recently made a thaumatrope, a hand held optical device, that produces an illusion of motion, much in the way that a hologram does, but it is hand operated using card and thread, and rather more lo-fi.
CT: Ooo, yes. I've quite enjoyed playing with that. You're of course referring to the Needle and Damage Done multiples. Hands seem to be your prime figurative villains. Is it because they relate more directly to your practice as a whole? (As in, the immaculate hand-made installation.) Or are there more subtle motivations behind those drawings (as opposed to my literal interpretation).
KT: The idea of something being hand-made has always interested me. I’ve always loved handicrafts and the DIY culture of making something yourself and trying to make it as perfect as possible. I’m really into those accidental individual errors that result from making something by hand while attempting to make it immaculate.
The best thing about DIY is the freedom to fuck it up. Ironically when I start an installation I seek out the errors in other people’s work, and look for the idiosyncrasies of that space to base my configurations on, such as variations in the height of electrical fittings or floors that are not quite level. These are the kind of errors that could normally annoy an individual, and yet they become the starting points for my work.
Also, I’ve always been fascinated by the instructions that come with DIY and handicraft products. I particularly like those illustrations that feature simplified linear drawings of disembodied hands that pose and demonstrate and always look slightly awkward. I really like that these illustrations have become a universally understood language, doing away with the need for text and translations, and that such generic drawings facilitate the production of personal objects that might go wrong with error prone hands.
CT: Those hands are almost turning into, what's the word, not mascots, but perhaps figureheads at the helm of your practice. I could picture them on a coat-of-arms....
KT: Yeah, they are these faithful characters that seem sort of honest and hopeful, or even helpful. The hand drawings I make flirt with instructional illustrations, but they often appear alone and separate from any instructions, so you’re not always sure if a pair of hands are demonstrating how to form a hand-shadow of goat or are doing an up-yours V-sign (that’s the British version).
CT: And finally, are you digging (the band) "Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah!"?
KT: (Claps hands, says yeah.)
*Image courtesy of the artist http://www.kateterry.co.uk