This Friday I took part in the exhibition Out of Place, featuring the work of the eight exchange students from this semester. My piece was a live drawing and removal titled Everything is Made Again.
The idea came from a wall drawing that I did in my studio a few months ago. It was during an open studio day, so many people were walking around. I starting doing one of my intricate line drawings on the wall to see how the drawing would look and feel to do in such a big scale. While making the drawing, I was fascinated by people's reactions. Naturally, almost everyone was surprised by my persistence to make such a large and detailed drawing on the wall, but the most interesting thing was their expressions of sadness in the fact that I would have to leave it behind in the studio when I left; that I couldn't take this drawing that I had spent so much time and effort on with me as an object. This sparked my interest in the piece being about temporality. I became extremely interested creating a piece of art that is not only a product of the space that it is in, but also the moment in which it exists. It wouldn't just have to be left in that specific place, but I would take it away myself. The personal construction/creation of the very tedious to be deconstructed/destroyed.
At the opening, I began drawing on the front window with ink at about 6 pm; the show began at 8 and most people arrived by 9.
Since this was the opening, people were very distracted, and some didn't notice my piece at all, even though I was standing at the front of the gallery, next to the entrance (sometimes on a chair) drawing it. I also had a table with a typewriter and a note on it, inviting people to record any thoughts or reactions they wanted to. I thought this would be more successful as it was an informal gallery setting and people are more likely to feel comfortable reacting to and interacting with the work. But disappointingly, not very many people seriously responded to it.
The process of ink on window was very fast, and I finished it around 930. I took a break, had a beer and walked around, pointing to the window when some people asked where my piece was.
Although people told me I should leave it up for people to look at longer, I think this missed the point of the temporariness, so at 10 pm despite objections, I washed it off.
I didn't feel overall like it was very successful, but I guess this was the first time I've done anything like this, and am still very new to the way you present this kind of piece and also the way you get people to participate with your work.
However, I think the most compelling moment of the night, was when I went to wash the drawing off. I went to the bathroom and came back with a tub of water and sponge, a girl I know from school (though we're not very close) came and stood between me and the window and said "What are you doing?"
"Washing it off" I responded, of course.
She shook her head at me in protest, "No, you can't do that. I can't let you do that." She seemed almost offended. This is what I wanted; I immediately instructed her to write on my typewriter.
A lot of people who missed the wash off were surprised that it was gone. Some wished it had stayed up for longer. My friend Christie took a video of some parts. But I guess now I just have to reflect a bit and refine the presentation and invitation so that I can make this a better performance/interactive art for next time. This will be in the BFA Show in March, so I have some time to improve it.
Any feedback you have would be appreciated.