Kate Hetherington Bakewell

kate@katehb.com // kate@turpsbanana.com

“The window is experienced as simultaneously transparent and opaque…if glass transmits it also reflects.” Rosalind Krauss

The grid can feel like a safety net but it simultaneously lays bare the sentiment, or the refusal of sentiment, behind the work. The grid is a comfort but a short lived one. It is something that has been discussed uncountable times but it is inescapable. It traps, it holds, it embraces and it rejects.

The grid has often been described as a rejection of nature but at times it seems to make human nature all the more apparent. The neuroses, obsession, discomfort, dependency and anxiety that are inherent in human nature are structured in an easy to read, conveniently laid out diagram.

This is especially true when discussing a hand drawn grid. When every line is pre-ordained the slightest error from a shake of the hand or irregular heart beat are made all the more evident. This is one of the most fundamental areas of meaning to be discussed when purposely working with a recognisable and rigid image. The notion of failure, of imperfection, is not something stumbled upon by accident.

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1007080

The Myth of Sisyphus can be used as an interpretive frame through which to reflect on examples of artistic practise that play out according to a model of purposeless reiteration, through a form of non-teleological performativity, or in relentless obligation to a rule or order that seems absurd, arbitrary, or somehow undeclared.

Sisyphean practise operates according to a cycle of failure and repetition, of non-attainment and replay: it is a punctuated performance.

The Myth of Sisyphus can be used as an interpretive frame through which to reflect on examples of artistic practise that play out according to a model of purposeless reiteration, through a form of non-teleological performativity, or in relentless obligation to a rule or order that seems absurd, arbitrary, or somehow undeclared.

Sisyphean practise operates according to a cycle of failure and repetition, of non-attainment and replay: it is a punctuated performance.

the only repetition was the impossibility of repetition.

Søren Kierkegaard

doing things that could be considered unproductive, oil on canvas, 2011

doing things that could be considered unproductive, oil on canvas, 2011

doing things that could be considered unproductive (detail), pen on tracing paper, 2011

doing things that could be considered unproductive (detail), pen on tracing paper, 2011

107957 (detail), 2011

107957 (detail), 2011

Letter from Sol LeWitt to Eva Hesse

Dear Eva,

It will be almost a month since you wrote to me and you have possibly forgotten your state of mind (I doubt it though). You seem the same as always, and being you, hate every minute of it. Don’t! Learn to say “Fuck You” to the world once in a while. You have every right to. Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itchin, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, numbling, rumbling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO!

From your description, and from what I know of your previous work and you [sic] ability; the work you are doing sounds very good “Drawing-clean-clear but crazy like machines, larger and bolder… real nonsense.” That sounds fine, wonderful – real nonsense. Do more. More nonsensical, more crazy, more machines, more breasts, penises, cunts, whatever – make them abound with nonsense. Try and tickle something inside you, your “weird humor.” You belong in the most secret part of you. Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool. Make your own, your own world. If you fear, make it work for you – draw & paint your fear and anxiety. And stop worrying about big, deep things such as “to decide on a purpose and way of life, a consistant [sic] approach to even some impossible end or even an imagined end” You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to DO!

I have much confidence in you and even though you are tormenting yourself, the work you do is very good. Try to do some BAD work – the worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell – you are not responsible for the world – you are only responsible for your work – so DO IT. And don’t think that your work has to conform to any preconceived form, idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be. But if life would be easier for you if you stopped working – then stop. Don’t punish yourself. However, I think that it is so deeply engrained in you that it would be easier to DO!

It seems I do understand your attitude somewhat, anyway, because I go through a similar process every so often. I have an “Agonizing Reappraisal” of my work and change everything as much as possible = and hate everything I’ve done, and try to do something entirely different and better. Maybe that kind of process is necessary to me, pushing me on and on. The feeling that I can do better than that shit I just did. Maybe you need your agony to accomplish what you do. And maybe it goads you on to do better. But it is very painful I know. It would be better if you had the confidence just to do the stuff and not even think about it. Can’t you leave the “world” and “ART” alone and also quit fondling your ego. I know that you (or anyone) can only work so much and the rest of the time you are left with your thoughts. But when you work or before your work you have to empty you [sic] mind and concentrate on what you are doing. After you do something it is done and that’s that. After a while you can see some are better than others but also you can see what direction you are going. I’m sure you know all that. You also must know that you don’t have to justify your work – not even to yourself. Well, you know I admire your work greatly and can’t understand why you are so bothered by it. But you can see the next ones and I can’t. You also must believe in your ability. I think you do. So try the most outrageous things you can – shock yourself. You have at your power the ability to do anything.

I would like to see your work and will have to be content to wait until Aug or Sept. I have seen photos of some of Tom’s new things at Lucy’s. They are impressive – especially the ones with the more rigorous form: the simpler ones. I guess he’ll send some more later on. Let me know how the shows are going and that kind of stuff.

My work had changed since you left and it is much better. I will be having a show May 4 -9 at the Daniels Gallery 17 E 64yh St (where Emmerich was), I wish you could be there. Much love to you both.

Sol

Let’s call the whole thing off; Martijn Hendriks interviewed by Nicole Edwards, April 2009

Nicole Edwards: Your work is said to address ‘the conditions under which non-productive gestures become productive’. In what ways may a gesture be considered productive or unproductive in the context of your practice?

Martijn Hendriks: Much of my recent work somehow involves doing things that could be considered unproductive; for example removing, extracting or misplacing things, using cheap effects while addressing grave subjects, editing out essential information from found images or videos and redistributing them. In a way they are all gestures that seem to deliberately miss the point, or perhaps more precisely, they make it missing. But what interests me about those gestures is that a new, unexpected point emerges in ways that you wouldn’t expect. In many works, I was interested in choosing the worst option from a given set of possibilities, or in doing things that run counter to the idea of the artist as a person who is creative, who produces things, who offers constructive critique, produces coherent meanings, makes things visible and available to viewers, and so on. I was more interested in finding ways of not really making anything visible or available in the usual sense, and in doing things of which the works would only be traces. Once you deliberately work with the idea of the unavailable or the not completely given, you introduce new possibilities of doubt and uncertainty into your art practice. But that’s good; the sequences of events that are started by doubt and uncertainty, or by overdoing something or mistaking something for something else, are much more interesting than knowing what you are doing from the start. For me, this is a kind of shadowy in-between area where unproductive gestures such as displacement or removal or negation become productive. They offer a way of rethinking things by allowing uncertainty back into situations that were considered as settled, and allow for lateral approaches, double takes, ways of seeing things that hinge on multiple, different interpretations at once. At those times that I could produce these situations in my work, I felt that I had somehow found a way of making the unproductive productive, which interests me. So the difference is often a difference of perspective. A gesture may be unproductive in material, visual, economic terms, or in terms of what is done with a medium. But it may become productive conceptually, in terms of the ideas it translates, the questions it raises, or in terms of the ways it allows you to think about something. Yet this second perspective still relies on the negation that a gesture represented in the first place. Which would mean that many things I do are both: both unproductive and productive at the same time. And then in the end many works are about this double bind of the tension between being productive as an artist while unproductive against other measures, which for me is an interesting part of working as an artist.

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Tom Friedman, Untitled, Wooden school chair, 86.4x55.9x55.9cm, Hundreds of holes drilled into a wooden school chair.

Tom Friedman, Untitled, Wooden school chair, 86.4x55.9x55.9cm, Hundreds of holes drilled into a wooden school chair.

Amikam Toren

Amikam Toren

Destruction in art did not mean the destruction of art.

—Gustav Metzger

Cody Trepte, Everything Has Always Already Begun, 2009

Cody Trepte, Everything Has Always Already Begun, 2009