During my exhibition at Lighthouse in Poole in December, we ran an ‘UNTITLED’ competition to title a piece of work. I’d deliberately left it ‘Untitled’ for the show so that visitors could join in with the exhibition and there was a book to write title suggestions in.
We had 65 entries in total – here they are on the wall of the gallery on the last day of the exhibition:
With the help of my sister-in-law, Netty Rumney, together we looked and looked and whittled these down to a shortlist of 5 possible titles, all of which we felt either enriched or added something to a viewer’s experience of looking at the piece.
Ultimately two titles, both very different, stuck with the piece and in my view, enriched or altered the viewer’s reading of the work. The first was the simplest and most obvious of them all:
suggested by Chris D from Manchester
The second was the wordiest and for me, even as the artist who knows every inch of this work in detail, made me totally re-look at the piece and allows me to experience it in a whole different way:
“finding each other again in the paradise of free souls” (for Helene Leivis, Batlan 2015)
suggested by David Hunt from OKSO in Poole
For me, reading the piece as if at least two people are involved changes my experience completely on so many levels. It’s no longer a simple searching for the centre or awareness of the pathways or a personal 1:1 experience between myself and the piece. Now there’s another person (or more) involved and the ‘goal’ could moving, more elusive to find – everything changes. David later told me he’d been very moved by these words, actually a comment by the father of a woman who died in the Paris attacks by ISIS earlier in the month and when he looked at the piece, they made sense and seemed fitting.
I’d like to point out that we chose these titles ‘blind’ so to speak – we just had the titles on the cards on the walls, not the names of their ‘owners’. However, it’s great that these two won – Chris had already donated a whole box of A-Z trucker’s maps that had belonged to his brother, which I used in the workshops for schools during the exhibition. And David happens to be my partner (!), whose company, OKSO, was one of the exhibition’s sponsors, and supports me with this website. (Mil gracias!)
So, Congratulations! and a big thank you to Chris and to David!! I’ll be treating you to that visit to Worth Matravers and The Square and Compass to celebrate this spring whenever you are both free.
‘The Square: finding each other again in the paradise of free souls…’
Collage: map pieces, graphite & gesso on canvas
h 126.5 x w 126.5 x d 4 cm, 2015