The two famous Siyah Qalam paintings, the Bull and the Lion, with my addition of the Matador as mediator/instigator/supreme commander/boss/provocateur? flying in between on a flying carpet instead of the traditional red fabric held in his hands. It’s about balance – all 3 elements are perfectly balance, in equilibrium, and there is order in the universe because the Matador keeps things in check, flying in between the two giants. If the oscillation were to suddenly stop, the world would end ~
The longest-running, always-changing, most compellingly exquisite piece of performance-installation art that spans years and leaves you rapt and intrigued and excited for more, that once you enter into this video gallery you can’t just walk out again but have to sit down on the hard bench in the middle in the dark and just say to yourself ok, I’ll wait, as I want to see how it turns out in the end, is…. a baby!
Erica Komisar in her book ‘Being There’ on a baby as enthralling work of art is right on point! @ericakomisar
I wanted to imagine that these two huge beasts were pitted against each other as if they were giant star constellations in the universe and there was a matador flying in the middle mediating in between them ~
And now for my latest trick: I’m constantly looking for ways to make works within works, like the stories within stories in the manner of the 1001 Nights for my practice-led PhD at the Slade. Here is one fantastic way: Vanishing fore-edge painting! Painting on the golden gilt edge of a book that is only revealed when the book pages are fanned. Hiding a work within a work and a painting on the edge of a book! Will share the work in progress here too so you can see how it’s done.
“But you don’t look like that” he said. Yes, I know I painted myself darker than I actually am (my strange project of trying to match my skin to wood… got the wrong wood, but keeping it as I like the colour) (and I now understand why grey blusher exists in make up for darker skin, it works!) He also pointed out that if I wanted to paint dark skin in classic miniature painting style it would be an ashy grey (wow! All these years of me miniature painting and he’s absorbed some things by pure osmosis! Any other spouses/partners experienced the same thing?). There is a wider point not often talked about – that classic miniature painting idealises pale skin and all faces look vaguely Chinese (until Mughal times, who sought to paint with more accuracy). Since we are living today I think is good to address that (let’s do it properly at http://www.miniaturepaintingforum.com).
Classic miniature painting depicts essences not actualities. Maybe one day I’ll do a Mughal portrait style version of us that is more ‘realistic’. I kept my glasses because they are part of my essence! That’s how I feel about who I am – not aspiring to be some beautiful miniature princess but someone who can see clearly and wears old clothes.
The above is a title of a famous miniature, the title of this work is Door Buddha (because it’s going on…. a door); we are not facing each other but just in the separate universes in our own heads, yet connected by the ground beneath our feet, content in each other’s presence yet perfectly happy not to talk. The dreamer and the down to earth. The idealist and the realist. Sometimes these roles switch; nothing is fixed. A first date this is not. It’s years of marriage. Maybe I should have put slippers. I never give relationship advice. But here’s a common denominator of all successful relationships I’ve witnessed: people are content in each other’s presence and there is no need to break the magical comfortable silence that exists holding you both and wraps around your already-confirmed bond.
Until they pause and point out: “But I don’t look like that”. Hehe. Plus ça change