Talk – Talk 1987-88
Collection The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan.
Talk - Talk was part of a group of my work included in the 1988 Contemporary British Crafts exhibition organized by the British Council, the exhibition was shown at The National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto and The National Museum of Tokyo. I’d won the Creative Concept Prize a year earlier in the International Textile Competition with a work called Carousel which was the first in a series of a new architecturally inspired wall reliefs. A strong feature of all these pieces was that they appeared to hang in a form that defied structural analysis. Talk-Talk is a conversation in parenthesis; tiny sections of verbiage are talking at, as opposed to each other.
Any thoughts I already had about the dialogue between the contemporary and the historical were reenforced by my visits to Japan. Someone once told me that the lucky Japanese were those who had been brought up in a traditional mode but who now felt free to embrace the contemporary. What I believe they recognized in my work was a similar set of sensibilities in the way I’d conceptually and technically accessed the past. What I learned from them was an attitude to materials, I’ve come to believe that you can make most materials do most things but it doesn’t feel right. It’s about understanding the inherent properties of a given material and using it accordingly. When we look at something even before we intellectually compute its function, we on a more primal basis read its construction. If the material choices are wrong the work’s compromised, for me it’s always about the overall feel. Japanese artists fuse materials together exceptionally well, which is one good reason why so much of their work has such a sublime quality.