Fringe at the Factory, Norwich
huge factory, sales floor and office block left empty. What to do with
it? Turn this acre of space into an exhibition, spectacle, event: this
is Norwich's 'Fringe at the Factory,' which runs to October 10. The ad
hoc unpaid committee organising it, tell me 2,000 attended the private
view Friday (not the 1,200 I guessed in leaving early). Of course, it
wasn't a private view but a spectacle.
200 'exhibiting' artists, over 100 are performing, reading or
otherwise transmitting their work over the two weeks too.
conservatism, with a small 'c,' has generally pervaded much of the art
in this region of England. Indeed, the patrons of FAF are sixties
artists Colin Self and Bruce Lacey (actually, very supportive); and
much of the work at the Factory is 'pictures on walls.' Yet, the
plurality of the enterprise, means that 'poetry' - as text or idea -
is really evident.
Trying to be
relevant to this List I shall mention just a few: "Kitsch in sink" is
a living installation whereby two young women live out the early 1950s
in a kitchen. Since graduating from Norwich School of Art this year,
Charlotte and Lynne have dedicated themselves to 'Domestikitschen.'
Though using nostalgia and kitsch, their silent performance highlights
the ridiculousness of our time. We enter their 1950s kitchen; and
enter on the basis that we 'suspend disbelief' but we really want the
nostalgia. The artists play upon a dichotomy between fake and real, a
moment's fashion and holes in history. To me, this is poetry:
grappling with assumptions, gasping for context.
49: Susan Hall's mesmeric 'water on the floor' film. As much of my
work is about walking, the ground and addressing the ground, this
installation in a big cupboard gripped me because it transfers the
illusion of film onto the floor. Poets go walking and get a 'head full
of sky,' but they seldom do the ground. Yet I bet there's not one
among us on this List who didn't start off writing and marking on the
ground. Hall's work takes us to the sea, where we paddle and look down
to find. Her work is a flight of the pleasurable - but to see the sea
on the floor reminds me of Richard Wilson's brilliant installation
'Oil' or such - crude oil spread out, which has this incredible
surface and looks fathoms deep but is but an inch of depth...
Poetry Cubicle/Howlback Hum is a wonderful live venture between poetry
text and reading and music. It's like one of those Art Lab occasions
where everything 'is.' So, teabag tags have haiku printed on the tag!
This is zany. Fine. I worry though that here 'poetry' actually takes
refuge in the book - whether a book-book or a teabag tag? It's almost
like music versus poetry here: live music in no relationship to the
speaker: A collision but also a division when the two could be fusion.
A perfect metaphor for post-modernism perhaps?
Space 9: Lys
Flowerday/Gilles Bourlet. Pure theatre installations. Very physical,
mechanical, standing there as if wings of a small theatre. Yet, these
structures beg words. While the structures are so solid, there is a
fundamental absence. The structures are all placed on wooden feet -
cobblers/shoe makers used to use. They beg movement, humanity. They
occupy a large space waiting for 'us' to happen, to be.
And yes, I've
a big interest in their work because I'm working with Lys & Gilles
- and it's like crossing all borders and boundaries - language,
movement, mime, mouth-counter-text, objects as text, sound as vision,
'The Broken' as made...