Statement for LANGUAGE TO COVER A WALL, Buffalo, USA
I prefer not to say what it is I am doing; not because I want to keep it closeted; but because I know of no words which will define it well; and anything less will start to limit me: once you give an account of yourself, you start to believe what you have said; and that’s why liars have such a hard time.
(Writing this statement, therefore, is a rather odd thing to do.)
One reason that I like to think my practice resists or refutes definition is that I hold it to be quite likely that, for the lively and restless artist, and both states are, I believe, desirable in artists, finding that they can say what it is they are doing is a signal that it is time to stop doing that and do something else.
I can tell you something of what I was doing a while back; but that’s a form of sloughed off skin. (Look at my newest skin; see how nice and fresh it looks – what is the secret?)
Making art is an exploratory act. It’s not a matter of believing impossible things before breakfast, but of trying to do them, and to do them all day, and believing in that.
Art enables impossibility.
I have been a poet for as long as I can remember. I declared it to be my vocation and profession early in my teenage.
Throughout my life, I have fallen among musicians and painters and learned from them, often finding more interest in my work there than among some of my fellow poets.
I have known some remarkable artists, especially musicians, most of them generous enough to take the time to teach me something of their ways of seeing and their ways of making.
I have learned the value of collaboration with other artists; not just cooperating with others but working with them as one polyperson maker in so far as that is possible. Just now I am most fortunate to be able to work and repeatedly so with a number of artists of great generosity and integrity.
The work of mine that you see in this exhibition is intended for performance – certainly for utterance, but also for dance. You may not be able to see how that can be; but neither can I! Not yet. I want work which will make demands on its performers and which will force us to find new techniques and even modes of interpretation.
That’s easy to say, perhaps, but much harder to say clearly and communicatively because it is at this point that I find that I do not know exactly what it is I am doing!
It must be work made in good faith; but I would say that, wouldn’t I?
It is not enough to find something that seems unperformable and declare it good because of that. There is more to it than that. And what that something more is… is just out of my verbal reach.
If you seek my meaning, attend to what I have made.
[This will be added to my website in due course]