i've been waiting for a guide to come and take me by the hand...
i've been thinking a lot about how certain images remain in your unconscious mind and kind of work on you over time unknowingly. the one thing blogging has done for me is that there is an automatic record of the date of discovery for every image i post.
i don't go back and look at older postings or images much, in fact revisiting things in cyberspace is almost never. i don't have the empty minded flipping of pages experiences in this space as i do with the bulging books in my studio filled with cut out findings, held in place with tape. with the books it's not so much a process of seeking as wandering through images that are familiar, but which i'm still struggling to understand why they attracted me in the first place. they contain images i've gathered over a longer period of time and on a less consistent basis. with the blog, i simply roll towards certain things in a just awakened state, where inspirational fodder for a morning gets replaced the next morning...
the blog as a set of images is much like my conscious brain, with each image fading a bit as i add a new one (strange that these digital photos now live as though they were actual photographs fading with age...).
last night i was working on finishing up a piece that i've been working on the past 6 months or so (it will be part of my show that opens saturday). during its making, things hover conversationally as i build: watts towers, tramp art, molecule models, bruno taut's alpine architecture, terragni's ideas towards the danteum, the paintings of kupka. these, and other things i've already forgotten, bubble to the surface out of the process of thinking and making; but as always, there are things that go into a work, that i really i hadn't thought about or consciously noticed as an inspirational presence. last night, i went into my studio to take a picture of all the parts lying on the floor. it actually wasn't until i looked at the window on my digital camera to take a picture, that i saw the space of my studio as a flattened image, and i remembered this snapshot of toy trains that i posted on airforms a year or so ago.
i had posted it in relation to the paintings of alfred jensen, and strangely enough suggested then that the arrangement could be or might be 'a score' (this entire work was birthed from a 12 page classical music score, and could still also be read as one). the interesting thing is not only might that the train photo have unconsciously suggested the structural form which is so clearly present in the piece, as much as i originally connected the train forms in the photo to images in a painting (jensen's). this responding to a sculptural work in a photograph and connecting it to images in a painting, suggests a deeper relationship between the painted and sculpted things i make.
it is rare when a single image or simple object can become a model of the connectedness of all things that one makes, as well suggesting a connectedness among all things one responds to in the world. the train photo and the photo of these objects on the studio floor reveal to me a kind of intuitive focus - being able to work while both knowing and unknowing at the same time - and in some ways the trains show me more because it's difficult to see one's own works in a light of such distance and clarity.
the other interesting thing is that the train photo is taken at an odd angle, where the images of things lying flat on a table, are read as cascading and related to pictorial rather than actual gravity. when i started these piles of wood i imagined they would be on the floor, a series of minor architectures for humble thoughts. eventually, i decided to string them together, suggesting more of their internal musical and narrative structure. to allow them to not only suggest architecture but to also construct architecture with them. the final work will not reflect the train images as they were in life, but as they are in the reading of a photograph.
inspiration is such a strange thing. an image or object tends to work hardest on me when i've seemingly forgotten all about it. conscious replication is of little interest, as it tends to deny a source the ability to reveal deeper truths beyond it. for me, it's about planting seeds and allowing them to grow within you unnoticed, until they bubble to the surface in these relatively surprising ways. i don't try to direct these things so much as i let them continually jab my insides in tiny and seemingly unimportant ways - never really noticing they've had their way with me until i finish a piece and realize it didn't exactly come from where i thought it did.
when benjamin wrote that for book collectors "ownership is the most intimate relationship one can have with objects. not that they come alive in him, but it is he who lives in them.” i think he's both right and wrong, for there are many things we do enter and live inside of, but there are also certain things that enter us - and while they are sometimes slumbering inside us unnoticed, there are times that they do come alive. in many cases we might not remember they are in us, but they are continually working their quiet magic in wonderfully mysterious ways. once in awhile, a moment decides to let you in on this little secret, and you see what you have done, and you realize that you are not so much the guide, as much as the guided.