People who live in Glass Houses shouldn’t throw stones.
My first conceptual art piece in 10 years.
This project started out with me sitting in church, the pastor had an interesting theme /slogan for the day. And it immediately in my mind became a title for an artist book. It was different and a bit controversial. It read something like a Winning recipe for failure, who would want to know the winning recipe to fail? It’s an idea worth listening to, a book you would want to open.
Later that evening I attended a talk by my all-time favourite artist, William Kentridge at UJ. It was all about artist books. Kentridge and Jack Ginsburg had a conversation about artist books and especially Kentridge’s books. So, there I was absolutely inspired to make books. Inspiration died bit by bit, but in the back of my mind ideas started to take shape.
A week or two later, I was again sitting in church. And one of our church members came in with a glass house, like a doll house, to represent our building fund kicking off. When I saw that, everything fell into place. I had it. My new artist book project.
Glass houses will be their outer case, about five in a row, and it should be able to lock. Each house must have its own lock and its own unique key. All the keys together on one chain. To open and see what’s inside you need to go through all the keys to see which one fit. It’s a bit of a mission, and takes some active participation and effort from the viewer’s side. Also, there is the debate, should this be opened as it is an art piece, is it there for everyone to read? Are you allowed to touch? Are we allowed to keep some basic human secrets to ourselves or share it only with those who are really trying?
The books will be about emotions we feel, but often locked up inside of us. Although you can see it, it’s still a closed book, you can’t see everything. We are the glass houses, we are transparent. But even while we are transparent, or seemingly transparent, you still have to spend time with that person to see who they really are.
“I tried the key in all the doors, even though he said he didn’t recognize it. It’s not that I didn’t trust him, because I did. It’s that at the end of my search I wanted to be able to say: I don’t know how I could have tried harder.” ― Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
How do you choose 5 emotions and how do I fill the books, and with what? I decided to ask some of my younger art students to help me. We had an art morning in the holiday and they started to explore how emotions and colours are related. We started out by watching a reading of My Many Coloured Days by Dr Seus, and scenes from the animation movie Inside Out. They filled in a questionnaire asking them questions about colour and emotions. We did exercises where we matched colours to emotions. I put up blank pages with different headings of different feelings. They had to cut out a shape they associate with that feeling and then colour it in with pastels in the colours they associate with it. Each student then stuck their pieces onto the page and we spoke about how each emotion have similar attributes.
The students then created a few A5 artworks that relates to the feelings we investigated. These images were scanned and used to create my books. Next week I will show and discuss each book on its own.