Monday, 24 November 2014

The love of everything

19 Nov 2014

Phil writes:

We are nearing the end of our project The Hieroglyphic of Happiness. Murals from this 10-week project will be used for the new mental health facility in Blackpool, The Harbour.

The whole thing is a salute to Matisse and his wonderful oceanic cut-outs, made at the end of his life. We've made a sequence that plays with the same processes as those used by Matisse, cross-fertilised with a touch of visual poetry.  The whole set of works will be stretched along a half kilometre of busy corridors and reception areas. It is a very large piece of public art, made in collaboration with people who themselves are dealing with difficulties. The work is alternately tender, kind, raw, joyful. We've used the metaphor of the sea to describe the hard storms and warm currents of emotional life.

The next stage is to gather these pieces into a whole - whether this be a journey, a story, a sensory experience. Dependent on their state of mind, travellers down this corridor will experience it in many different ways. They might be busy, distracted, terrified, grieving, happy, bored, hopeful...

Today was about "choreographing" the walls, so that the pieces flow visually into one another and through the space. We invited the group to make gestures onto pieces of paper that roughly echoed the dimensions of the walls. These will feed into the final structure of the murals.

It was again a delight to be with the groups as they worked, they've become supportive of each other, friendships have blossomed and the work, the ideas, the voices are all more expansive. In other words, we laughed a lot. My favourite moments? An elegant and minimal wall design that finally, gloriously emerged after much deep thought and many long pauses. Also, a gestural piece made using the creases left by the wheels of a wheelchair rolling repeatedly across a large piece of paper. And, finally, this was said: "it's restored my love of art, of poetry. It's restored my love of everything."

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