On Tuesday this week a nice bunch of people flocked and flew down to BLANKSPACE to take part in an In_tuition special evening. ‘Meet the artists’ with the team of No Offence Intended, featuring Q&A, and coffee & cakes. Instead of the usual group discussion we turned our attentions onto the artists taking part in our current exhibition. They generously and bravely agreed to answer all questions the public cared to throw their way. We all enjoyed coffee served by Sonny Barker, and cakes made by Runa Begum, before being shepherded downstairs and into the back studio.
(I am slowly collecting photos of all the installations and in my last post from the opening night discussed and displayed photos of the work by Ryan Higgins and Laura Burke/Miriam Baynes. From the Q&A I must thank Sonny Barker who, as well as supplying me with coffee, also provided the photos posted here.)
In the back studio we stood around stroking our beards as Edwina McEachran explained the inspiration for her installation piece, 待つ (which I think is pronounced matsu and means wait. I’m sure about the tsu, less so about the ma). She visited Japan during New Year and witnessed/took part in the celebrations. Japan is not a religious country at all, but becomes so during certain celebrations. New Year is a time for praying at the Shinto shrines. More specifically it is a time for waiting endlessly in a queue for the opportunity to pray for 20 seconds.
待つ is a meditative private performance; an act of lighting a series of incense cones and sealing each in their own small plastic box. The piece exists whether the cones are lit or not, but it comes to life during the process. While lighting them Edwina was bombarded with questions about her intentions, inspirations, motivations and expressions. The room gradually filled with rich and choking cinnamon smoke. Edwina noted how nervous we all made her, standing around stroking our chins as she huddled on the floor. She asked us all to sit down and the atmosphere immediately became more intimate.
The to-and-fro banter afforded by the forum seems to work well, and I think future BLANKSPACE exhibitions should feature a night like this. Unfortunately I had to duck out and was unable to stay for the rest of the evening. I am hoping to secure the use of more photos from the opening night of No Offence Intended so I can complete my quest of preserving the exhibition for time, time, time. Right, it’s late. Sleep beckons. So long. Adieu.