AboutâI believe in truth though I lie a lot'
Love Action (i believe in love) Human League 1981
That was Phil talking, and his lyrics have an immediate punch and effect. But we can also turn to a revered intellectual heavyweight and paraphrase Simone Weil who said that in the guise of fiction we can reach something equivalent to the density of the real, which life offers us every single day but which we are unable to grasp (she was talking about the work of great writers, but we might equally apply this to art).
Weil was writing in the febrile, menacing Europe of the nineteen thirties: the stakes were high for her; a deathly struggle over human existence in which, she argued, culture was essential. What is at stake now, in this kind of work, in the making of art? The desire to harm, subjugate and destroy still harrows and hollows out life all around us. Even if we are fortunate enough that it not touch us, it would be an act of monumental willed blindness not to allow yourself to notice that very bad things are happening all the time to other people, some far away, some very near. As a counter action (gesture seems too empty of heft) the creative act works to add to the possibility of human life. Although art might speak about darkness, it is not of it, its force is not diminishing and deadening, but generous and generative.
Here are, then, a series of such âfictions' - images, objects, set ups and staged encounters. Some are ingeniously constructed from stuff around us, marbles and cardboard boxes, and the technologies ubiquitous today, photographs, film and digital media. Others are made from rarified fine art materials; we can follow the lick and pull of paint across canvas or paper, sense the singularity and fragility of handmade marks. Together they might offer a window through the clutter and fug, a focus and a space for thought about what it means to be here and now.
Written by Alicia Foster