My work almost seems entirely derivative from Uta Barth, in particular, her work from 1995-2000. This rather horrifies me, and certainly wasn’t on purpose. It was only by accident that I happened to stumble across her work, and it felt to be too late to change what felt like the perfect language. Work needs to be done on my part to expand on my vocabulary, so that I share nothing more than a similar hue, rather than being labelled as a copycat. I recently came across a Barth’s talk at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth:
This talk was almost uncanny in how she spoke about her practice like it was my own. Even her recent use of curtains, light and the anti-narrative in her work. I think it wouldn’t feel as bad if she had been born 500 years ago, but as a living artist, this similarity feels too close.
I actually didn’t know much about Keith Arnatt’s work until I saw a show at The Photographers’ Gallery in 2007, titled I’m a Real Photographer Keith Arnatt 1974-2002.
Being faced with so many photographs on a daily basis, I find it hard to get excited about photography, even though it is my primary medium. This show wowed me. The photographs were funny. Often documents. They were beautiful. In particular, the most beautiful were Pictures from a Rubbish Tip 1988-89. I would happily hang any one of these from this series on my wall. Rotting food. Straggles of meat. Eggshells. Oh, and the lovely birthday cake. My favourite. I think it is the birthday cake in the bin that has the most meaning. The unexpected coloured icing. The nostalgia. Why wasn’t this cake eaten, and who was it for? It is the humour in his work that I wish I had. His work makes me like photography again.