This photo was taken at the beginning of the project What’s Love Got to Do With It?, an exchange between Curatorial Studio and Le Bureau des Positions, hosted respectively by Glasgow School of Art and École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Marseille.
Kirsteen Macdonald (who I sometimes see as our match-maker for setting up Curatorial Studio) had invited other Scotland-based artists to contribute works and workshops for the Reid Gallery at GSA, creating a temporary incubator for our exchange. Ciara Philips was the first to deliver an exercise and I remember her pairing us up, one person from Curatorial Studio and one from Le Bureau. She asked us to direct each other in painting camouflage on each other’s faces with the intention of confusing facial recognition software. It stemmed from her research into Dazzle Ships, warships painted in bold, abstract patterns to avoid detection by machines. We had loads of fun pointing our iPhones at one another seeing where the camera would focus.
I was working with Daniel Mitelberg and you with Clémence Mimault. I thought it was funny how they were a couple and that maybe they thought we were. I don’t know what guidance you gave to Clémence, but I asked Daniel first of all to draw a white cube gallery on my face and then to start moving in furniture so that it became a home. The ‘Welcome Home’ mat on my chin, just under my mouth, was his final touch. I didn’t ask him to do that, but it felt like part of something I think he was thinking about—the informalisation of the gallery space as a welcoming device. I guess there was probably a lot we didn’t fully guide them to do—when I painted Daniel’s face (and I can’t actually remember what he wanted now), I’m sure I took every liberty I could get. I like this photo because, in addition to looking good and doing art, we’re kind of, like, in disguise—hiding behind the space between our instructions.
The tender, fine curvature of the jug’s opening gives away the hand of the creator. Its delicate energy, a transference from maker to me. I wanted to see this alone, away from all the other pieces in the cabinet. It reminds me of conversations with performance artist Nao Nishihara when he was in residence at Hospitalfield about his relationship to his props (the objects he appropriates and makes for performance). It reminds me of the potential of unconfessed love.
EXTRACTS FROM ENERGY MAPPING EXERCISES 17-29 APRIL 2022
Gordon Douglas is a performance artist in Glasgow. He plays games with organisational staff and their stakeholders, celebrates birthdays amidst austerity, and holds it together before breaking down in offices. He is currently cardbearer for Good on Paper.
Cicely Farrer is a curator on the North East Coast of Scotland. Day to day she facilitates artist residencies, pedagogical events and workshops and supports artists to create new work including performance. She invests her time considering the invisible support structures for artists.
Good on Paper is a research project initiated by Gordon Douglas and Cicely Farrer looking into the futures of performance art making in Scotland. They are working with MAP Magazine on a series of texts through spring/summer 2022.
Click on links below this article for the second invitation appendices.