Service Wash

me and rp got ourselves organised long enough to enter something into the 
urban commons ideas competition earlier this month…i'm glad we did because:

a. it's a strong jury so we'd be stoked to be one of the 8 selected winners
b. i've been trying for a long time to find an angle for my launderette fetish

fingers crossed.


Black, and white

How have I never heard of Marlene Dumas before? That’s all I could think as I walked around a retrospective of the artist’s work at the Tate Modern earlier this week. The large paintings were good, equally moving and horrifying in their watery depictions of the human form, but the small black ink drawings were all I needed to see, I loved them.

Black Drawings – 111 drawings on heavy heavy paper (some of the sheets apparently drenched in ink and water) and ‘1 piece of slate’ –  got the fullest burnishing from my eyeballs which acknowledged the collective assembly for some time before moving over every item in turn (including that flat lightless stone) then pulled back taking them in as a whole again. Dense faces, ghostly faces, 111 faces, all in the same medium but no two showing the same tone or expression; a remarkable set of drawings.

Of course it’s the wrong way around to suggest a major artist reminds you of your own work (modesty lock is in position) but I was jolted back to my days as a confused art student in Leeds when I covered my desk in inky scribbles on found bits of scrappy paper. At some point I collated these and pinned them to the wall, a way of formalising the output I suppose but it never moved forward much from there. I never recorded them as they were taped to the wall, but some time later I photographed the pieces individually, like little slips of evidence….

I only wish I’d been alerted to Black Drawings; the subtle questioning, the manner and the form might’ve pushed my focus a bit.