This is a variation based on a sculptural work I designed about five years ago. I’m currently using it in a more complex 2d/3d/architectural beast of a project I’m calling ‘Three Degrees of Sculptural Integrity’. I haven’t included the rest as it is just too unresolved despite my having worked on it now for over a year on and off.
It was interesting to hear Anthony Gormley in interview on the world service a few days back. He concluded the interview by commenting that he had become ‘like an administrator of some strange school’. (or something like that). I believe he was referring to the fact that in order to maintain his international profile and produce his large scale installations his time was being consumed by administration and project management duties and he had little time for what he described as ‘play’. The word ‘play’ here meaning, real focused creativity.
This example supports my belief that recognition and wealth as a result of one’s art brings with it just a new set of restrictions and obstacles to creativity. Being somewhat underground my barriers to finding plenty of ‘play’ time are mainly working to pay the bills, raising our family and staying fit. Still I manage these things in such a way and apply the art of resourcefulness to give me a good 80% playtime from my time when I am not sleeping. This I reckon is pretty good. For me, organising shows, and even trying to sell and promote my work is just activities that eat into this 80%. This is mainly why I don’t bother. I have invested a lot of time in developing this site, but I see this as a direct extension of my work and a creative activity that enriches my output.
My point being I guess is this: whilst I remain an unknown entity in the larger art world it is probably much easier for me to focus on very ambitious (creatively ambitious not just large scale) work. I can still take risks as an artist. My work in mathematics and the new art that is starting to emerge from this for me is/was a huge risk. But then how much bigger this risk would have been if the weight of expectation was upon me. My immediate family and friends have always had the expectation that I should one day make an impact on the art world, but I’m so used to not delivering on this score in terms of success they can recognize, this kind of pressure no longer interferes with me. My sculptural project that is running along side my work in maths is, I believe, massively ambitious and this ambition is a consequence of and a contributing factor to working in isolation and obscurity.
There are many eminent artists around today who are making large scale ‘ambitious’ works. How many of these works however are just ambitious in the sense that they are big, expensive and resource thirsty. Artistic ambition for me has never been about these things but about how one organises one’s day to day life with a single-minded focuses on evolving art over months, years and decades.