16 July - 12 September 2015
WHATIFTHEWORLD is pleased to present Two Works by Julia Rosa Clark. Using found material, paper cut outs and painted fragments, Clark explores the traditions of improvised practice using impulse and spontaneity as a tool in the creation of a large scale drawing Installation.
I have become more interested in traditions of improvised practice, from the off-the-cuff spontaneity of creative performers to the adrenalized reflex skills of people in a crisis. MacGuyver’s impromptu quick-fix tools; viral clips of impulsive acts caught on camera; footage of Robin Williams going off script intrigue in their ability to be vital, active and in the moment.
This fascination with the power of spontaneity resonated with another area of influence: the traditions of soothsaying. The diviner – across culture and historic periods – has been using the improvised in rituals to get ‘answers’. In Ancient Rome, the Haruspex (translated as ‘looks at entrails’) was responsible for reading meaning in the freshly exposed guts of a slaughtered animal. Other diviners have narrowed the parameter of the unknown by scattering bones, coins, sticks, peering into the residue of tea-leaves and coffee-grinds, scattered dust… and the list goes on.
The quality of feces and urine, random lines from poetry (rhapsodomancy), the movement of ants: all have played a part in the crystallization of the present, for the needy, through a speculation on the future. The divination is an improvised piece, using a well-learnt repertoire of meaning making, but leading to an element of surprise and the unknown.
Often despite instinctively knowing exactly what we want, we feel the need to flip a coin. It will reassure your gut instinct, which ever way the coin lands: one way you will embrace the superstition, the other you will dismiss it and do what you want anyway.
Horoscopes are wonderfully apt or total rubbish depending on how accurately they resonate.These are tools – foils – to help us to feel the present, not see the future. Being held in the moment -having clarity through narrowing the emotional aperture.
A few years ago, while making my exhibition Booty (WHATIFTHEWORLD 2012), I introduced a methodology of chance into the way I was making collages. I needed the proverbial coin flip, to be able to observe and feel my artistic instinct more clearly. A while later, I adapted this methodology to public improvised installations. The work is made in-situ, in a few hours or a day or two, leading up to the opening. It is made up of a set repertoire of materials and fragments,part improvisation and part divination, but without premeditation, and is titled once complete. The two installations presented by WHATIFTHEWORLD, fall within this category of my broader practice, and will be the fifth time I will make this type of ‘ad lib’ work for a public show.