‘At The Red Light
I Gather My Thoughts –
I Catch-up With Myself –
While I Wait
Desire and Will
Are Curtailed –
I Look About Me
Only Forwards –
A Time And Space
Without Direction –
Until The Light
Changes To Green’
(‘Gatherings‘ by Paul O’Kane, May 2019)
One of my favourite musical artists, Van Morrison, wrote a song called ‘Underlying Depression‘ and that seems a fair description of something I’ve been feeling for a few weeks now. I’m not letting it disable me, but it is there, like a dull rock inside, full of doubt, regret, frustration, fear and negativity. I just get on with what I have to do, and this keeps it at bay, but I know it doesn’t truly confront or get rid of it.
Artists speak about their ‘work’ in ways that might sound pretentious to people whose ‘work’ is long hours of very poorly paid and meaningless ‘alienated’ labouring (I have done plenty myself, but have been lucky enough to also be able to escape it). Nevertheless, an artist does feel a strong compulsion to make what, it seems, we have to make, and when we don’t or can’t make it, it hurts and keeps hurting until we do make it. Thus, it is, indeed our ‘work’!
Furthermore, I think this has something to do with the way I have been feeling, and I am looking forward to breaking through some kind of mental, spiritual, creative ‘logjam’. I plan to make a new album of popular music and a new book this year, and to do more to reconcile my two or three careers in Fine Art, Popular Music, and Writing.
These have often seemed in such a conflict, but I believe I am starting (rather late in life) to synthesisise -through e.g. writing chapters on popular music in my two most recent books, and through the albums I have made, always against all odds, and in a kind of state of shame and embarassment that always just had to be worked through, in order to gain the new powers that were waiting on the other side of those negative blocks and fears.
I had some great teaching experiences this week, and it truly is a privilege to work with the next generation of up and coming artists. As for shows, movies etc. the most notable things that happened included watching ‘Winter Sleep‘ (2014) an incredibly, beautifully intelligent Turkish film by the master Nuri Bilge Ceylan – who was compared with Bergman for this movie. It also has traces of Chekhov and Dostoevsky laced into the narrative and the wonderful philosophical dialogues. The acting is just wonderful, as is the Anatolian mise-en-scene.
The other significant cultural event was to attend the artist’s talk by HAEGUE YANG about her current show TRACING MOVEMENT. She spoke for a solid hour and a half in conversation with Yung Ma, Curator, Contemporary Art and Prospective Creation at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. She introduced us to signiifcant depths of her show and her wider practices and processes.