Werkbox, Direktorenhaus

A new edition of Handwerk is exhibiting in Berlin at Direktorenhaus, a new space in an old building, "The Director’s House, (dating) back to when the building was part of the State Mint in Berlin-Mitte. Built in 1935, the wing’s well secured vault was used during World War II not just to store minted coins, but also to protect the art works of the State Museums of Berlin from the threat of bomb damage."

I'm showing thirty boxes, along with other artists supplementing an exhibit by Olaf Hajek. Working towards a bigger show of my work there in September. The premise of Direktorenhaus is interesting, that of a Gesamtkunstwerk. More on this later. The boxed variant pieces have grown, with markmaking of granular character. Both to magnify surface and to dispense with textual information in favour of something mute.

Similarly, interlockables have been added, with continued trials of inlay.

The boxes before shipping. A detail of the box label, a surface work replacing the only text on the first edition. I'm trying to get at a lack of instruction, a muffled play as stated at the outset of this project. The woodwormish, red-green rag motif is something of an optical zoom, pulling one closer to the MDF Kraft Ply Laminate and inside the box.

It's carried through to a bar of laminate hardboard. The material, that of the damp cupboard back. A slab of kitchen strata. Also mindful of Susan Kare's Macpaint palette, as discussed previously here, out of Rob Giampietro's burst of inspiring writing.

And latterly, currently, Dust: a book by Joseph A. Amato.

This edition extended beyond the set of thirty for Direktorenhaus. There are more available for distribution on inquiry.


The Point Chair

We have finished and delivered The Point Chair. For Isaac, aged 1. As discussed already, I was asked to work from Nilsson's The Point. The step, in terms of ongoing work, was to make something with a functional behaviour, helped by the use of this small wooden school chair.

Really my previous post, explaining the tattooed nature of the design and its relationship to instruction and reading and lifespan, still holds.

Always the thought of what is next and the back, with its closer correspondence between the imagery and the pocket-use, is the root of something where I'd like to make a piece with Sally that exclusively talks about use. This may involve making the furniture itself, as the correct kind of carcass for a very simple surface grammar.

The buttons were another step; the left is a dog's nose, in case it doesn't read.

This is really how we expect and want the chair to live, with the books and the drawings that take him along the way.



Inked and took a print from this block, same small A6 scale as the Haiti piece. I wanted to try a single indigo-ultramarine colour, to pull out the nuanced wooden and perspex surfaces. Still the block itself is more satisfactory; I could be expecting something that doesn't come from a relief print.

The print, to find the right hierarchical balance between reading of the engraved line and woodgrain, needs perhaps to be larger. I'll continue, next laying down a flat, risographed slab of near-black and then overprint from the block in white and skewed whites. This way the block should have more object-volume on the lightweight paper (which is Zerkall, around 100gsm). I want to produce an ongoing series, mirroring and imprinting from the box elements; so the initial method has to be worked through and out.


Open House, The Point

We are in the midst of Open House this weekend and the next, a part of Dulwich Festival. Please pop in and see us if you can get here. Showing Sally's knit's and for my part, the chairs. This is a commission, at the stage of screenprinting the design onto a stout linen with a good half tone (so white thread will read as well as black and other colours). Using a little wooden school chair and a move to a more functional piece, with pockets for notebooks and picture books and pencils. This won't make sense with these images but will post images of the overall structure in a couple of days.

We were asked to work with The Point, Harry Nilsson's curiosity of an album from 1971. Imagery-rich and naturally sequential, so the surfaces have a kind of reading order and lifespan I hope for the little boy whose chair this will be. The drawings are somewhat influenced by lots of looking at information images, with indiscriminate perspective, flatland co-existing with the descriptive, the dimensional. On a basic processing note, the drawing I have screenprinted to give Sally a much better ground for stitch.

She found this, an embroidery-ready piece of fabric. A moment of forehead-smacking realisation that we should be doing this, rather than stitching through newsprint when not drawing directly onto the fabric.

Some of the imagery sits on and refers to the functional parts of the cloth structure and I want to work through another chair which talks purely of use. Sometimes ones reads something that sticks. This, by Jurgen Bey: "The language of products is a language that we give them so that they can communicate with users. Sometimes they have an interpreter in the form of a written set of instructions, sometimes through tattoos on their body. It is a functional language that tells us what they can do, where they come from and what they are for".

Damián Ortega's Elote Clasificado (2005). Saw this at Tate Modern in 2005, almost the same time as reading J.Bey in the book Bright Ideas, Beautiful Minds and the two illustrated one another.

The Point involves a Hole too. This will be used to punch said Hole. Sharpened it last week. We will need to back the linen and use a kind of blanket stitch to seal the edges.

A dog's nose button will be cut from ply. These are fragments I know and it will make sense next week when I photograph and post the chair complete.

Also continuing to move the box parts around compositionally. Took a print yesterday from some of the components and will take some more this, then post.

Also making a new edtion of Hand Werk this week, for exhibition in Berlin. News forthcoming.