I haven’t been back (yet) to the ICA bookshop to buy one of Tino Sehgal’s words. Instead I went to the Whitechapel Art Gallery, for the first day of the Inner Worlds Outside exhibition of Outsider Art.
It shows the work of inspired and talented artists who weren’t part of the art world, and had never received any art training. People like Madge Gill who never sold any of her drawings in her lifetime because she didn't want to offend the guiding spirit who she said inspired them. Most of the drawings were found piled up in her bedroom when she died.
There is drawing from Gill that runs the length of one of the galleries, with the picture of the same woman appearing again and again in a swirl of shapes and colour. Apparently Gill would get a long roll of Calico and she would draw a bit, cover the drawing up and then unroll the next bit. until she had covered up the whole roll with her drawing. Must have taken months.
On the way out of the exhibition I was interviewed by the Independent on Sunday. The journalist took a photo. Might quote me in the paper this Sunday. I should have mentioned this blog, I might have got a free plug for it.
I went into the Gallery bookshop to buy an art mag. While I was there I bought, on impulse, a book by one French post-modernist philosopher (Deleuze) about another (Foucault). The reason I bought the book is that its opening sentence reads
‘a new archivist is appointed. But has anyone actually appointed him? Is he not acting rather on his own instructions?’
Its not often my proffession gets such a privileged mention in in philosophical texts. (I confess to not yet having read ‘Archive fever’ by Jacques Derrida).
So buy the time I had left I had spent £15. A tenner more and I could have had one of Sehgal’s words.
It is easy to spend money at the Whitechapel art gallery bookshop and the ICA bookshop. Sehgal is taunting me by selling his 100 words in the ICA bookshop. He is saying to me, ‘’you want to buy half the books and magazines in this shop. And yet you will end up spending £25, taking away nothing, for the sake of hearing one word’’
Maybe I should resist the Sehgal temptation, and use a line from a Smiths song instead to re-title this blog. That would be free.