I was looking at my artist statement the other day - checking if it is still relevant and whether I feel I stand behind it. An artist statement is also in a way a journal used to keep checking in with yourself and work out certain things. In short, artist statement is a text that includes underlying drives, motivations, ideals and principles an artist wants to convey through her work. I think it is an important piece of writing, because of the self-reflective requirement it comes with. It is never an easy task to write it, most of the times it ends up being either scattered or falls into the trap of art language and its conventions. Of course, it is possible that a statement has a coherent story, is credible and relatable to the reader, but until you get there, many pages of text will be marked by the voice of insecurity. And it is perfectly fine. I think we have to invite and nourish the messiness and incoherence in these writings, the more loose they are, the bigger the chance to get to the essence of one’s practice. The one who is reading, though, must be open to put in effort and do some work in extracting those gems. I feel most of the time artists are afraid to be unclear in their statement so little risks are taken, thus not much exciting is happening in the statements. I feel it is a shame to not use the opportunity and present the uncertainty, doubt, incompleteness and continuity of the process.
My artist statement changed a lot through the years. At some point I was avoiding reading it because the fear of being confronted with my own bullshit was strong. Big concepts, strong words, desire to be complete, following the rules of the format, all these things created a distance in something that actually meant to create a bridge. The further I was in my artistic development, the simpler my statement became. I guess it has to do with overall confidence, shift of goals, and inability to follow the guidance for too long. Wonderful thing about artists you can’t stick with dishonesty and pretence for too long. You always know, first deep down and then later becomes more observable, if you are making good work or if it is feeding the self-perpetuating machine that runs on trends, copying, executing somebody's will etc. All of the above can obviously be legitimate, if there is a conscious awareness about your drivers. I do feel that most of the time to get to such awareness takes time, experience and suffering, but the good news is that eventually the default layers will peel off and something honest will come out. Artistic crisis is also a thing, as well as personal crisis, or work crisis. We need to accept the idea that there is always a need to reconfigure, reassess, clean-up and change. It was always so intriguing to me that there is a resistance towards change while at the same time change is what drives everything, there is nothing in the world that escapes it. But, if you want to change your occupation or food preferences, it is often seen as something to be suspicious about. I was playing with changes, feeling into the experience of change, my name experiment is a good example.
My upcoming exhibition will be another rich experience to enter into. I got spirited away from my artist statement, though. So, I was reading the last version and I actually was quite pleased with it. Not that much about the words or linguistic constructions I use, but those gems are much more visible than before. Perhaps, me changing and growing in multiple dimensions made it easier for me to see through the veil of my insecurity. I will rewrite the statement in the upcoming days, clarify it, find signal and separate noise. I noticed that in the past few entries I am mentioning rule omega quite often. I can say with confidence I feel I am incorporating it into my daily practice quite successfully. And it brings results. Also giving the benefit of the doubt to the past self showed to be a very satisfying practice. Looking through this lens made the action of looking at my past statement a very satisfying activity. Like visiting an old friend who you know so well and can see through the defences having warm and loving feelings towards her.
there is a growing awareness that we live in times of rapid change and division contributing to the feeling of disorientation. i truly believe that art can provide a unique framework for people to exercise the skills required to contribute to a positive change towards a connected, exciting and fulfilling life. it can evoke a productively disruptive change by means of imagination and critical thinking.
Reading this makes my heart sing, despite of the barrier that the choice of words introduces. I can feel my urge to make a difference and also the personal struggle and disorientation come through. It is obviously too general and careful but I am excited to dive deeper and find solid ground.