Puzzling talk by Richard Wentworth. Puzzling because I didn’t quite get ‘him’ rather than his work. Perhaps I shouldn’t say that, but I ended up rather perplexed and worried more about his words than his art practice. But then I am always analysing people, my ‘self’ and others.
The very title of his talk felt like a regret – a warning that perhaps he had tried to rehearse his own. This is how I felt about his talk… I felt a little sad as I snuck out the back. I wanted to escape his melancholy. Perhaps I shouldn’t say this, but people always tell people to be honest and this really is a blog about how I feel about pieces of artwork and other artists’ work, which means reflecting on their own words too. I felt much melancholy through his words.
His ongoing series ‘Making Do and Getting By’ also has the feel of despair about it. However, on viewing his work without the titles, tells a different story, a slight sardonic wit that perhaps is underlying and I missed it at first, but on reflection is plain to see. The photographs of everyday objects that go unnoticed and those arrangements/sculptural installations that juxtapose each other, have a real humour about them but also a slightly bitter sensibility that goes with them. Again, perhaps I’m being too cruel. Perhaps I’m the one having a bad or sad day here.
I may be wrong – I may be feeling this too deeply – beyond the wit and rye humour, when he talked about the use of ladders and the plates and how they mirrored self-esteem, importance, doubt and the justification of the self…slowly, I understood that his work may be about a resolution and his own sense of self-worth – not the objects themselves but they were acting as a mirror to his own ‘fitting in’. He talked of ‘why we conduct ourselves in the way that we do’, the ‘discarded object’ and talked a lot of the word ‘belong’. He talked of Exhibition vs. Inhibition. On reflection, I believe through his artwork (as other), he was really talking more about himself, his life and its ‘once-only’ performance.