How do you make art without deciding to make it?
What are the expectations when making art and how do you know when they have been achieved?
What is the meaning of an art-work that is unintentional?
How do you articulate the quest for an answer? Is there any point in doing so?
How does the consuming desire to make work co-exist with an attempt to make work without intent?
If it was present, could The Answer To Everything be recognised in the work or would it be rendered invalid by recognition?
This extraordinary, unfolding sequence of post card sized drawings and texts; nearly 400 so far with inevitably many more to come, asks question after question while resolutely delivering beautiful images and arguments, perhaps despite itself. Displayed in the gallery as one continuous line, it is a tour-de-force that delivers a never-ending compendium of thought and practice, a totally absorbing exposition of the hope and despair, the point and the futility, the triumphs and the pitfalls of the work of the artist. Threaded with humour and irony, the work reflects a constant visual and intellectual engagement between its inherent seriousness and potential absurdity.
“…I started making a series of small abstract drawings on postcard-sized pieces of paper which could be easily made between packing and moving. I was also writing about my work, because this is something I always do. I was (as usual) writing about how I go about making work and (as usual) wondering if there could be strategies that would finally stop the endlessly repeating cycle of a period of brief excitement and productivity followed by a period of crushing despair. The difference this time was that , instead of writing in my journal, I decided to write on the same paper that I was using for the drawings and I decided to think of the drawings and text as a work…I put the drawings and texts on the wall and looked at them and saw that I was (again) making a work about the nature of art and the nature of art-making and that I was (again) looking for an answer to the eternal mysteries of beauty and transcendence and decided, in a mood of ironic fatalism, to give the work the title : Guide To Life VI(B).8: Art-Making (Strategies): The Answer To Everything. And I carried on making the work because…that’s what I had decided to do.”
Commenced in 1997, Guide To Life is a constantly expanding reference work in which the information necessary for a successful life is collected and catalogued. It is both a work in its own right as well as the containing structure for every other work. Guide To Life is organized in six chapters:I Basic Philosophy; II Necessary Knowledge; III Productive Living; IV Autobiography; V Beauty; VI Art-Making, Appendix I Picture Library.