I came across this etching recently at the exhibition Rembrandt in Print, held at the Lady Lever Art Gallery. Rembrandt reworked the plate for Segers’ ‘Tobias and the Angel‘ (c.1630–33), which he owned, and redirected the subject matter to a different biblical story: Mary, Joseph, and the Christ-child’s flight into Egypt. I recalled Robert Rauschenberg’s more radical intervention in a drawing by Willem de Kooning (Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953)). Whereas Rauschenberg deployed a subtractive process, Rembrandt’s approach was to both obfuscate and integrate the original design with the new image. How could the same strategy be deployed in relation to sound-art practice?, I wondered. My mind hasn’t let go of the question since.
9.00 am: A busy day of email slashing, resit marking, research admin, IT discomfiture, and family matters, lay ahead. But, to begin … some gentle lubrication:
10.50 am: As I walked downstairs to the kitchen to make tea, I heard a colossal crash upstairs. One of my studio tables had pulled away from the wall. (Rawl-plug fatigue, after twenty-years of service.) Had I been within three feet of the ‘calamity’, a shower of boxes laden with heavy equipment would have poured down upon my head. (Be thankful for small mercies.) While some of the boxes will need replacing, no equipment had been damaged. A new and safer system of shelving needs to be considered:
1.00 pm: I enjoy peaches most when they’re unripe: crisp, like apples and without the accompanying and uncontrollable dribble of juice:
There was an article about knitting on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning. My mother knitted. I’ve kept her bag, needles, balls, and the project she was working on during her last stay in hospital. Her mother crocheted on an industrial scale. At home in my youth, we had an either sickly pink or green floppy-stitched mat under every ornament. Dad made wooden and metal bookends, small boxes with swivel tops, and – magisterially – a corrugated hardboard Yankee fort with hinged gates, in his shed at the bottom of the garden. Thus, I grew up surrounded by makers of one sort of another. Their example inculcated in me the value and integrity of working with one’s hands.
On with admin in all quarters, and in advance of opportunities and events in the next few months. Mid afternoon, family arrive. 6.00 pm: Dinner.
7.30 pm: Back to the email backlog, with one eye drifting to my practice and personal website revisions.