In the process yesterday of unearthing my collection of sketches, notes, drawings, paintings and other fragments – images I produced during the time I lived in France (shall I call that my French period, or leave that to future art historians?:)) I also came across my collection of images of Danish medieval wall paintings.
I stumbled upon (ha!) these works on the web back in the 1990s and was immediately transfixed, so printed off a selection of photos of them – for my personal purposes only, they are copyrighted – and have taken them out to look at on and off ever since. Since I don’t believe in coincidence, I’ve been pondering why these images have risen up before me again at this time, how they might relate to my work. I tried this in France, without much success, I have to say, but it’s still true that some of my French Fragments connect with these wall paintings.
Hmmm. (Means, I’m thinking).
I was struck by the similarity in colour between a lot of these wall paintings and the colours – Yellow Ochre and Burnt Sienna – I used to bring out the texture of the pages of my in-progress (and first ever) encaustic accordion book.
Not only that, in Danish, these wonderful wall paintings (there are 1700 churches in Denmark decorated in this manner) are called Kalkmalerier. Kalk translates to chalk. I’ve made the pages of my accordion book from Plaster of Paris, Mod Roc: chalk.
I decided to include – somehow – while making this book, images from my French Period because it’s one of my past artistic lives I haven’t re-addressed. I also realised I’m going to be making a lot of these accordion books, to incorporate a lot of images. So I’m collating, cataloguing, curating.
Curating’s a bit of an art form in itself, isn’t it? It’s also scary as, badly-done, it leads people up the wrong path.
Curiously, in looking at this French stuff, the issues I was trying to address at that time, are those I’m still trying to address in present time. They represent a lot of walks half-taken. Walks where the road ran out on me. Where I got lost in my own mists.
Did I lack courage, or insight? A bit of both.
Hmmm. (I’m thinking again).
It might be that in selecting images, I’m being asked to think in terms of curating. To pay attention to focus and theme. Just a glance at my bumbling and stumbling French Fragments tells me I’ve moved maybe a few turns up the spiral of (whatever). I think I can say that much.
I’ll be looking at and writing about how that has happened. And I’d better be scared by this – I don’t want to lead anybody up a wrong path. Better get the portable altar out. Hey, maybe I should make one? Maybe, I am. Lots of them.
Danish medieval wall paintings: http://www.kalkmalerier.dk/