Commission: Art After Love's Philosophy
David Michael Clarke is married to the artist Anabelle Hulaut. Hulaut has been artist-in-residence at the Villa Arson (Nice) from February to June 2005. On the 28th June, Clarke left his home town of Nantes to rejoin his wife and daughter. Clarke’s aptly chosen form of transport : the bicycle. But not just any bicycle, the very British Brompton. From England to English. Clarke began his voyage from the site of his old studio in rue d’Angleterre, in the Malakoff quartier of Nantes. All the streets in Malakoff are named after various European countries. However, over three quarters of the population of Malakoff are of north African descent. Clarke’s final destination, La Promenade des Anglais, is the sea front that would look out to Africa, if the people weren’t so busy looking at each other.
In 1987, David Michael Clarke enrolled for a ‘foundation course’ in art and design at Shelley Park, on the sea front of Bournemouth. Shelley Park was onetime home to the romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shelley, like many of his contemporaries, travelled widely across continental Europe. One of Shelley’s most popular romantic poems is entitled ‘Love’s philosophy’.
In 1969, the year of David Michael Clarke’s birth, Joseph Kosuth wrote ‘Art after philosophy’, a text which re-ignited the debate surrounding the work of Marcel Duchamp. For Christmas 2004, Hulaut gave Clarke a shirt made by Duchamp (London). The pattern on the shirt resembles the dot paintings by Damien Hirst. Hirst is an anagram of shirt.
Clarke took this shirt with him on his voyage. Clarke made a point of stopping at the edge of every village passed to take a photograph. Wearing the shirt, he posed with his bicycle and the signpost marking the existential limits of the conurbation. Existentialism was made in France.
The dots on the shirt (although somewhat smaller) made him think of the special maillot worn by the King of the Mountains during the Tour de France. Clarke wore the shirt for his ascent of the Mont Dore in the Massif Central. The ascent took 54 minutes.
On the 9th July, after twelve days of hard pedalling, Clarke was reunited with Hulaut and their daughter, Magenta. Nobody has ever won the Tour de France on a Brompton T6. But then again, as Billy Bragg said, ‘Love is not a game you play to win’.
During the 90s, David Michael Clarke was based in Glasgow, making slideshows, for which he was awarded the Richard Hough Bursary in 1996. In 1999, after anexchange between Tramway and Zoo Galerie (Nantes) Clarke decided to move to France.
The MAP Commission publishes new work by an artist each issue.