Thursday, 25 November 2010


Yesterday morning to Wysing Art Centre to meet my artist collaborators Caroline Wright, Helen Rousseau and Phyllida Barlow. For almost a year now, fairly regularly but not too often we have met at Caroline's studio at Wysing to have discussions about the relationship between visual art and the word, recording the discussions, entering them on a web-site, elements of which are open and elements of which are for conversations continued between the group.

For me it has provided almost half a book of poems related directly to specific works by the three artists, or rather springing out of them. That was until summer when I was working at full tilt on other projects and obligations. That stage of the work was marked with an exhibition at Ipswich. There is still an exhibit at Wysing and we met in the gallery with a few other artists present to continue discussions.

Now we are entering another phase. Up till now all I have written has been about work by Caroline and Helen, with one poem about a work by Phyllida, but now I have seized the opportunity of a few days to start on Phyllida's written contributions which are her notes scanned in and put up at the website. I pick phrases and expand them, trying to turn them into structures that have some organic life of their own.

I have always loved working in this way, in a form of annotation or marginalia. It is like entering a house only to open the windows to see what is visible from there, to survey the land beyond the house itself, a land I myself have come from but which now seems like a sudden strange universe with which the house seems to be in balance. The view from there is the thing. As though the view constituted were a house with more windows.

After Rose Tremain's beautiful reading last night at the UEA we went for dinner with Chris, Pam, David from the university and Rose herself with Richard Holmes. Richard was telling us about his adventures in hot air balloons in Albuquerque. He described the forest of balloons rising and hanging over the town and the mountains. He is writing about what the world looks like from the air. Maybe this Wysing project is a little like that too, like hot air ballooning, the words being the hot air that keeps the balloons jostling and afloat.

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