As we enter 2020, part II: New York, Manchester, Geneva, London

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Greetings. Here it is, part 2. Part 1 had me tying up last year’s loose ends. Part 2 looks at the near future and which walls you’ll find my work on. As usual, everything happens at once. I’m in exhibitions at the Portico Library in Manchester (UK), the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva (Switzerland), and with Jennifer Lauren Gallery at the Candid Arts Center in London (UK) as well as at the Outsider Art Fair in New York (USA).

 

Outsider Art Fair – Jennifer Lauren Gallery /// January 16-19th. Metropolitan Pavilion. New York, USA

I’m not sure exactly what happened during the fabrefaction of my July 31st – November 28th, 2019 diary drawing, but the result is 12,627 words in my bubble text on A5 card. This is almost 2,000 more words than were recorded on the previous page and by now more than have been recorded on any of the ten A4 size diary drawings. If you want to go see the combobulation for yourself, find yourself at the Jennifer Lauren Gallery booth for their third year at the fair. Jennifer Lauren will also be showing work by Shinichi SawadaAkio Kontani, Margaret Mousseau, Leonhard Fink, Chris Neate, Norimistsu Kokubo and more.

For further info on the fair, opening hours, special events etc.. see here.

Outsider Art Fair, NYC 2020

Diary, July 31st – November 28th, 2019

 

Talking Sense: The Changing Vocabulary of Mind and Brain. /// January 17th-April 13th. The Portico Library. Manchester, UK 

James Moss curates the works and minds of 50 artists in this playfully conceptual exhibition fitting to the ethos of the Portico Library, a 200+ year old subscription library in Manchester’s city center. The exhibition “explores the idea of “mind/brain-then/now” – combining 18th and 19th century literature with new artworks to create a space for conversations around the vocabulary of neurodiversity, mental health and psychology”. Sugar Glider vs. Octopus, a painting I did in 2009 will be included along with works by the homies Darren Adcock and Dolly Sen. Quite pleasantly, we are accompanied by 47 artists I can’t say I am aware of by name. I look forward to discovering their work and how all this might fit together in the context! The public preview is from 6-8pm on Thursday 16th January.

Talking Sense: The changing vocabulary of mind and brain

Sugar Glider vs. Octopus, 2009

 

Scrivere Disegnando (‘Writing By Drawing’): When Language Seeks Its Other /// January 29th- May 3rd. Centre d’Art Contemporain. Geneva, Switzerland

I’m thrilled to have several diary drawings included in this near-exhaustive exploration of writing as drawing and how this leaves the communicative aspect in ambivalence and/or ambiguity, focussing on work from the early 19th century to the present day. At least that’s my reading of it so far. I impatiently await experiencing the exhibition for myself at the opening on Tuesday, January 28th. I understand the exhibition will be accompanied by an elaborately produced book of 300+ pages. I will report back with details regarding that as I learn them. Co-curated by Andrea Bellini (Centre d’Art Contemporain, Director) and Sarah Lombardi (Collection de l’Art Brut Lausanne, Director), it will be interesting to see works by artists associated with Art Brut side by side with contemporary artists, brought together through the context of this theme. On those walls I’ll be in the very good company of Nick Blinko, Gaston Chaissac, Aloise Corbaz, Jean Dubbuffet, Susan Hiller, Henri Michaux, Laure Pigeon, Luigi Serafini (Codex Seraphinianus!), J.B. Murray, August Walla, Melvin Way and Adolf Wolfli among others.. In my previous blog entry I spoke on the writer Michel Thevoz and the artist Carlo Zinelli. Thevoz is contributing text to the book published in conjunction with this exhibition, and there is a big Zinelli exhibition at the Collection l’Art Brut in Lausanne, so I’ll also be able to experience that, which should be wonderful. I’ll report back upon returning.

 

Monochromatic Minds: Lines Of Revelation – Jennifer Lauren Gallery /// February 25th- March 4th. Candid Arts Centre. London, UK

I can’t help but feel this will be a historic exhibition relentlessly championing works in black and white, through a roster of 62 artists, most of which I admire immensely, and some I’d not heard of or seen but am thus far impressed with based on images revealed here. Jennifer Lauren has taken on quite a task and brought together an extremely impressive group of artists, which I’m overwhelmingly excited to see curated together in one space. On these walls I am joined by my PPP crew (Posca Pen Pals) Liz Parkinson and Julia Sisi, the highly potent Albert who I’ve met through the Bethlem, Madge Gill who needs no introduction, the great Aradne, it’s an endless list and I’d love to think of specific words to describe each artist but I must go and do my tax returns. It’s very tempting though.. Ody Saban who’s work I’ve admired over the last fifteen years, Cathy Ward whom I’ve crossed paths with since encountering her work at The Horse Hospital (which is in grave danger of being shut down after over 25 years, spread the word to your powerful and caring friends please!) around the time they offered to show my work for the first time in 2007/8, Nick Blinko who I’ve written about quite a lot over the years (here are a couple of bits: 2011, 2016), Rashidi, Margot, Harald Stoffers, George Widener, Ben Wilson, Malcolm McKesson, Dan Miller, Kate Bradbury, Nigel Kingsbury, Daniel Goncalves, Michel Nedjar, Evelyne Postic, Agatha Wojciechowsky, Ted Gordon, and the list goes on! I just wish brother Phil was here. Right,.. I feel like I’m about to malfunction. For full details check this  and I’ll reiterate all this in a more succinct and informative manner within the next blog entry in a few weeks, with updated specifics regarding the series of events surrounding the exhibition including presentations by some of the artists and more. 

 

Roger Cardinal (1940-2019)

It was saddening to hear that Roger Cardinal, the man who first used the controversial term ‘Outsider Art’ with having his book titled as such (published in 1972), has transcended the Earth at the end of last year. The forthcoming issue (104) of Raw Vision magazine will be a special tribute edition. I was privileged to meet him several times. My first encounter with him was interesting, I had been writing in my diary drawing for a couple of hours, alone at a table and he walks into the room and asks if I mind him sitting beside me. He then asked if I minded him taking some notes as we conversed. We went from there into another smaller room where a video interview with Jean Dubuffet was showing and we sat there for a short time before he nodded off for a while in an armchair. We crossed paths a handful of times or so after that and began a somewhat intense email exchange, which began with him actually saying he would be “honoured” to write about my drawings (too much!). He could also be quite playful in his approach. Referring back to that email, he wrote: I would be honoured to write something about your work, which is definitely on my personal list of a site of “outstanding natural beauty” (that’s a quotation from the Kent County Council road sign that you’ll find at the entrance to our local villages!). I regret not having resolved the unusual and perplexing tone of our last emails. Irrespective of that, Roger Cardinal will forever be gargantuan. 

 

This was January 2018

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Outside In: Journeys at Sotheby’s, New Bond Street (London, UK)…

I’ve just returned from New York and will use this space to recall some of what happened. Firstly, prior to embarking on that odyssey, I was excited to see the Outside In exhibition at Sotheby’s, a bit closer to home in London. The opening night was quite extravagant and as busy as could be. Perhaps someone knew there would be bottomless champagne glasses handed out? I’d like to think all these new faces were there to marvel at some of the wondrous works on show. The works were nicely lit, with a strange blueish hue hovering around them (or was that just me seeing it?). In some ways it was the perfect setting to celebrate Outside In’s certified charity status, and they did well in accumulating art works from throughout their journey, from 2006 to the present. In my case, Picture Worth a Thousand Words was on show. This was the painting I submitted for their competition/exhibition in 2009. I was one of the six ‘winners’ and they offered me my first solo exhibition as a result. At that point in time, the painting was a decade old already. Seeing it hung in Sotheby’s a few weeks ago, I realised it had doubled in age since then. It returns every ten years to fuel and strengthen my belief in the power and propelling of cycles. And to think, this painting blew off the roof of a car twice on the motorway from London to Chichester when we were initially delivering it in 2009. It suffered wounds. Thankfully that was all! Anyhow, it was certainly touching to see it again and whilst waiting for my coat in the cloakroom on my way out, I had a sudden urge to go and see it once more and to touch it. In that moment, a strange sense of time and movement ran through me, much more effective than my words could reflect. Something I have never felt before. I did return a few days later to show my family. There were a healthy amount of people around, but it was much easier to speak and move around. I must give a mention to some of the other great work on show, courtesy of artists Phil Baird, Kate Bradbury, Nick Blinko, Aradne, Albert, Manuel Bonifacio and James Lake among others. Normally I would have taken some photos of the works in situ but am whirl-winding through life at the moment, so I hope the links contained within the aforementioned names typed will suffice. I did get a snapshot of Jarvis Cocker making a speech at the opening though (if you haven’t seen his two part documentary on ‘Outsider environments’ for Channel 4 which screened in the late ’90s of the previous millennium, check the internets). Also, a shot of me with Nemo (a few weeks prior to his first birthday) a few days later in front of my work (also from the late ’90s). Big shout out to Marc Steene, founder and Director of Outside In and all round renaissance man for being unquestionably transcendental.

Jarvis Cocker speaks at Outside In: Journeys opening

 

Carlo and Nemo beside ‘Picture Worth a Thousand Words’

 

Vestiges and Verse: Notes from the Newfangled Epic at the American Folk Art Museum, Lincoln Square (NYC, USA)…

I’ve just returned from New York and will use this space to recall some of what happened. In terms of the exhibition, a very impressive and ambitious conceptual manifestation. It is an honour to be among the (mostly dead and few living) artists chosen to be featured. Five of my diary drawings are shown, spanning the years 2010 – 2016. Interestingly, that is the most of them that I have seen alongside each other at one time. Most probably I have never had that many in my possession at any one time, either. It was somewhat challenging negotiating time with little Nemo, considering the five hour time difference to back home but we took him along to the opening as planned. He fell asleep in a sea of noise and wonderment. It was a bizarre cocktail of adrenaline and tiredness. A surreal experience for sure. My works were hung in a space opposite a master work by Aloïse Corbaz and works by James Edward Deeds Jr. Some magnificent Adolf Wölfli works were displayed in the same area. It was a trip to be shown in an exhibition with so many works by  Achilles Rizzoli, which in this case heavily focussed on compositions comprised mainly of text rather than the phenomenal architectural imaginings he penned. I highly recommend this book. It was interesting to see some Paul Laffoley works again. His weighing out of systems is very intriguing to me. His work first caught my eye at the highly poignant The Alternative Guide to the Universe exhibition at the Hayward, in London in 2013. He was still alive then. Vestiges and Verse: Notes from the Newfangled Epic in some ways reminded me of that great show at the Hayward. So many interesting artists collected and put into a captivating context to provide a lens through which you observe the similarities, and sometimes somehow the similarities through the differences, based on how far in a direction they will each take you. 

My work was in view upon first glance beyond the entry point into the exhibition. Approaching it, it didn’t take a nanosecond to realise one of the drawings was hung upside down. This has since been rectified. I thought not to mention it here, but human error occurs (and we should be thankful for that!). This incident raised the question for me, ‘Am I so far down this road that only I can see how obvious it is that this drawing is upside down?’. Among attendees at the opening were, aside from myself, two other living artists being shown in the exhibition. Susan T King and Jerry Gretzinger. The former, I have admired and written a bit about in recent years. Jerry, on the other hand, I was not aware of. It was a great pleasure to meet him and speak at some length with him specifically/personally, but also as someone else included in the show, sharing stories about our paths and how we end up where we end up. I’m completely in awe of his map project which began in the 1960s and is on-going. Mesmerising. Find yourself ten minutes, get yourself a hot drink and watch this. An artist I was not expecting to meet that night was Joe Coleman, which was a more than pleasant surprise. It began with a “look who’s behind you, Carlo”, and there he was beside my work. Thanks to Jennie we got talking a bit, about Henry Darger (who has some incredible work in the show), The curator Valérie Rousseau, and other artists in the show. He left me with the words “Welcome to the family”. The family? The family?? Thanks Joe. Below are some photos from the opening. The exhibition runs for a duration of three months or so. Check it out if you can! 

 

Rizzoli works being scrutinised at the opening

 

Joe Coleman and Carlo Keshishian. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Gilbert.

 

Joe observes Carlo’s diaries. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Gilbert.

 

Joe Coleman, Carlo Keshishian, Jennifer Gilbert. Vestiges and Verse: Notes from the Newfangled Epic exhibition opening at the American Folk Art Museum in New York, NY on January 20, 2018. (Photo by Stephen Smith/Art Zealous)

 

In view: Aloïse Corbaz’s 14 meter long master work ‘Cloisonné de théâtre’.

 

Carlo Keshishian and Jerry Gretzinger. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Gilbert.

 

Part of Jerry’s map visible in bottom left corner. Photographed during Valerie Rousseau speaking at opening.

 

I feel like there was more I wanted to write but it escapes me now. I need to stop writing here and continue writing in the current diary drawing, so will let this be for now. I hope to update the blog more frequently, yadda yadda.. let’s see..

Bright moments, Carlo.

 
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